I had a fantastic time in LA for the Fifty Shades Darker Premiere and Masquerade Ball!
After numerous delays, we got to our cool hotel in West Hollywood to find a really great gift from Universal Pictures with Wine glasses, chapstick, a shirt, The Fifty Shades Darker movie tie-in edition book, a paper mask and virtual reality glasses. So nice!
The next morning, we got up, went to the walk of fame and saw the Hollywood sign and then came back to get ready for the ball!
I freaked a little in the car because on the way I found out we were supposed to be there early, and as always, I was already late, but luckily only about 10 minutes.
We arrived at the beautiful Vibiana for the ball. Even though they sent masks, they had men and women’s masks in case we needed them, I grabbed extras to give away but couldn’t hold them all night, I did, however get one replica of Ana’s mask to give away. Right when we got through security I saw Colleen Hoover and Tina Reber outside (in leggings, so I know they weren’t coming in) but it was too late to turn around and say hi.
The ball was beautiful! They had Tarot Card readers and magicians, live music featuring one of the musicians from the movie, an open bar and good food, as well as some cool photo booth setups. I was interviewed by Natalie Morales from Access Hollywood and was so excited my wine sloshed out of my glass a little. How embarrassing! But from what my neighbor told me, my husband and I (more him, I was blocked by a feather) were on screen for a second of that interview LOL.
We were in the right place at the right time because first Eric Johnson (Jack Hyde) was right behind me, then the director James Foley, EL James, Dakota Johnson, and Jamie Dornan walked right by me to get to the stage. EL James was beautiful and it made me so sad I wasn’t able to meet her. But I saw Helena Hunting and Debra Anastasia as well as lots of fellow bloggers.
WOW. Fifty Shades Darker was WAY better than the first movie in every single way. It was funnier (way), there was a lot of teasing and sexy smirking going on. The chemistry between Jamie and Dakota was off the charts, where in the first I didn’t really see that.
Speaking of chemistry, holy hell, if they come out with an unrated version, I can’t imagine how much hotter it can be! There was a lot of very hot sex, and I mean…he has his face buried down there several times! How awkward for the actors. (But so hot!) Look for the spreader bar scene…sigh.
From the previews, it looks like this installment is a lot more exciting, action-filled and darker than the first, so I was surprised by the sheer number of sex scenes, But I also found myself smiling and laughing a lot more despite some of the ‘darker’ themes. Christian and Ana’s relationship is much lighter and more romantic. It seems way less formal and they seem much more relaxed together even (and especially) during the sex scenes. And the action never stops. There are really no lulls in this movie, so pee before you sit!
I was never a huge fan of Jamie Dornan for Christian (in fact, I thought Eric Johnson, who plays Jack Hyde would have been way better), but Jamie as Christian completely won me over this time with his sexy smirks and more lighthearted scenes. They were so awkward together in the first and so light and fun together in this, you really bought the relationship.
The only negative I could really find were that there were a couple of scenes that felt a little low on the production quality, a big instance being a firework scene that the fireworks seemed super fake. But I will reserve that judgement till I see it again next weekend, because my husband pointed it out a little late for me to look close enough.
Mr. Ana, who was not a fan of the first (he said it was boring and only girls will like it) said he liked this one a LOT better, but it’s still totally a chick flick.
Fifty Shades Darker follows the book pretty well and most important scenes are there, and it’s very important you stay through the credits!
After the movie, I was chosen with a group of other women to go to the red carpet area and we were interviewed by Universal for use in promotions. But it was cool because we got to take photos there.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better night. Universal went first class all the way! See my video replay of the night:
Then we had our Uber driver take us a scenic way to Studio City where we were headed to see a taping of Man with a Plan starring Matt LeBlanc (Joey from Friends) and Kevin Nealon (I love him). Our driver took us on the curviest canyon road ever, and we got to see all kinds of crazy homes hanging over cliffs, and mansions and amazing views.
At CBS studios, they take your phone as soon as you arrive. It was 3:00. Then we head over to the studio, across a big huge lot and wait another hour while they fill all the seats with ticketed people and standbys. I was SO MAD I didn’t try to sneak in my phone, it would have been easy, but really I wish I brought my kindle because sitting there for an hour with no phone was pure torture for me. Luckily we made friends with our neighbors so chatting killed some time.
If you ever do a taping, DRESS WARM. It was FREEZING in there because the hot lights on set will make them sweat.
So they have a warm-up comic who gets the audience all pumped up and teaches us to laugh at basically everything. Then they show a previous episode so we can get familiar and practice laughing. He gave out prizes to the best laughers, had us dancing, and kept us very entertained for the next 5.5 hours. I really enjoyed watching the taping. Each scene was done about 3 times, once we had to redo a scene because they didn’t like the audience reaction. But it was interesting to see how they fix hair and makeup between each take, including adding a little color to Matt’s scalp!
They even served us turkey sandwiches, granola bars and water. Not bad for a free ticket! We were entertained and fed for close to 6 hours on a rainy day, and Man with a Plan has new fans in us.
The next day we got up early to meet family for breakfast, then took an awesome 2 hour tour basically every important tourist spot in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood and Hollywood Hills. We saw a ton of famous houses, and our guide was totally knowledgable and fun. Those tours may be cheesy but it was pretty awesome with some amazing views.
Then we raced over to the Santa Monica Pier just in time to see the amazing sun set. Holy hell, it was freezing, I had to buy a scarf on the pier! We facetimed my son a lot who plays GTA, so he was totally loving seeing his video game in real life. Every time we would send a photo, he’d say “I ran over a ton of people there!”
See a quick recap of our tour:
One thing I must mention— The Fifty Shades Darker ads cover LA. There is no billboard or ad that comes close to the amount of Fifty Shades ads. You couldn’t turn your head anywhere without seeing a billboard or bus stop plastered with it. Whiskey a go-go had 7 billboards on it, all Fifty Shades. It’s amazing to see how much Universal did to promote one of our own!
1: A Fifty Shades Shirt (size large) and virtual reality glasses as well as some Ana’s Attic swag.
2: A Fifty Shades Darker Poster, mask, and virtual reality glasses as well as some Ana’s Attic swag.