In 2017, a new theatrical take on "The Mummy" was released, starring Tom Cruise. As part of the promotional tour, Universal set up a free, public event in Hollywood that promised to include the film's stars. All you had to do was just show up, go through the metal detector, and join the crowd.
I saw this as an opportunity for a redemption moment. Years before, while working as a TV Production Assistant on the Paramount Studios lot, my boss asked if I wanted to go pick up lunch with her at the cafe next to the water tower. "Nah, I'm good," I remember saying, opting to instead whip up a free peanut butter and jelly sandwich in our department's kitchen. When my boss returned, she said "You'll never guess who I just ran into... Tom Cruise!" I was a little bitter about the missed opportunity and the level of thrift my life required at that point.
Five years later, while pinching pennies again, but this time because the same long-running TV show was on summer hiatus (i.e. we end up unemployed for a couple months), I couldn't pass up this free event for a big Hollywood film... and a second chance to see Tom Cruise.
I hopped on the subway, went through security, and didn't stay in the crowd for long. It was congested and felt about like being in front of the stage at a music festival during a hot, summer day. The top level of the complex turned out to be a much better choice. Not being limited within the confines of the official event area, I got to explore a little and had a sneak peek at the giant sarcophagus, hidden behind a curtain for now.
The promotional event built up like a movie: the presenter gave us the backstory, then the cast made their way out... except for Tom Cruise. Such suspense! "This better not be the second time I've missed seeing him," I thought. Eventually, he was introduced, and you could feel a shift in the excitement from the crowd that lasted for the rest of the event. The City of Los Angeles even joined in on the action by issuing an official proclamation (for what it's worth), declaring May 20, 2017 "The Mummy Day".
The curtain dropped, and the actors each took their time hyping the movie and talking about their experiences during filming. They wrapped up by signing autographs and snapping selfies with fans.
It was a fun day, and I finally felt better about choosing to eat that free PB&J sandwich years before.
"The Vindicated Tom Cruise Sighting"
Written by Justin Kilmer, Reluctantly Reviewed by Janine Kilmer
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