The atmosphere at London’s Leicester Square has reached fever pitch as One Direction fans await the band’s arrival for their This Is Us movie premiere tonight.
Draped in 1D t-shirts and flags, and clutching home-made signs and books, the fans eagerly consult their phones for updates (the most avid receive automatic alerts each time a band member posts a new tweet) as they hope for a glimpse of the famous five.
One Direction – aka Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson – will arrive later this evening and are said to be spending a little over than an hour meeting their fans.
The boys have already joined in the #1dmoviepremiere hash tag ahead of an evening that's seen fans camping overnight to line the red carpet, turning Leicester Square into a festival-style singsong (Little Things, What Makes You Beautiful and Best Song Ever proving the most popular. We sang along. Naturally.).
Ahead of the band's arrival we went to meet the fans (where there’s already a lot of screaming), and found One Directioners who’d flown in from Peru and those who'd made dad endure a very long 1D-fueled car journey to London…
Harry hair love
Caitlin, 10, and Emily, 20, said of the recent One Direction fan documentary: “I don’t want anyone else’s opinion, I just want my opinion and to know more about them. Fans aren’t mad, we’re just mad as in happy/good.” Oh, and if they got to meet Harry Styles? “I’d run my hands through his hair,” Emily chuckles.
Valeria, 14, and her friend win our award for travelling the furthest, coming all the way from Peru to get a glimpse of One Direction. Via Madrid, too. That’s 16 hours of dedication and three airports. And if that journey wasn’t enough, Valeria says she learned English from the 1D boys and can sing along to all of the songs.
Mum Gayla told us she’d just completed a car journey from Chesterfield with One Direction songs on repeat to help her daughters get to see their favourite band. We’d worry for her sanity but, she joked, “Harry’s alright, isn’t he?” At least, we think it was a joke...
Writing's on the... well, face, actually
Many a t-shirt has been sacrificed in honour of One Direction today and these Niall and Louis fans were taking no chances – writing their favourites' names on their faces, too. The girls, still hours from seeing even a lock of Harry Styles hair admitted, “We’re shaking already”.
From Spain on a plane
More fans hopping on a plane for tonight’s premiere include Anna-Maria, Christina and Sandra, all 17, who flew in from Spain this morning. The girls have to be back on a flight tomorrow morning, but that hasn’t stopped them. A flight is nothing to these girls who, armed with a 1D-decorated Spanish flag, begged, “Please, PLEASE help us see them.”
It's a One Direction-off
There was banter among three girls Nicole, 15, Jamie Lee, 15, and Louise, 13, who, decked out in official t-shirts, admitted two of them liked Niall and one liked Zayn. But – ready to wait all night if necessary – these girls aren’t letting a little thing like that get in the way of 1D mania, admitting they love the boys both for their personalities and their music.
Having waited 32 hours (yes, 32 hours) Cerys, 12, Bethany, 12, Emily, 11, Lucie, 12, Megan, 14 and Shannon, 16, haven’t had any sleep and have been singing 1D tunes all through the night, snuggled in sleeping bags. They’ve even created a book about the 1D boys, from which we learned Liam is known as ‘Daddy Direction’ for being the most sensible of the group. The girls also credit One Direction with saving lives, saying their music has helped those who are depressed.
Don't wake dad
Joining the crowds at 3am mum Sarah is in it for the long haul with her 1D-loving daughters Maisie, 12, and Lily, 8, who are hoping to get their homemade poster signed. Their early start paid off as the girls have bagged wristbands entitling them to places in the pens which line the red carpet. “If only I had ear plugs,” Sarah joked, admitting her husband, who'd endured an entire car journey of 1D music, was somewhat against the trip. Possibly too late, dad.
Future Mrs Horan
On team Niall, One Directioners Sophie, 12, Gracey, 12, and Kathryn, 15, say they plan to see the movie at least five times to be able to concentrate on each member separately. “If I even blink I’ll have to watch it again,” one enthuses as the others reveal they begged their mum to book cinema tickets for opening night. “We’ve been counting down the days to the film on our calendars,” they admit, adding, “One Direction may have lost the X Factor, but they won the world.”
Movie stars in the making
And… the cherry on top. We only went and found some fans who might actually be in the movie, after scoring a spot at a special gig for just 1,000 fans. Footage from the night is expected to be shown during the film. The girls admitted they were adding ‘acting in the One Direction film’ to their CVs and would cry if they spotted themselves. Plus, these girls (who’d met today and bonded over their love of 1D and automatic Twitter updates) revealed that they’ve actually come close to the man that is Harry Styles. “At the concert he popped down behind where they take your tickets with a camera. I had my ticket in one hand and Niall cut out in the other. I didn’t know what to do.”
This Is Us premieres tonight in Leicester Square before going on general UK release on 29 August 2013