'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' among biggest of Hollywood premieres

Hollywood became the center of the "Star Wars" universe Monday night as a host of celebrities walked the red carpet for the world premiere of the film series' much-anticipated latest chapter, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Hollywood Boulevard was closed for four blocks, with much of the street covered in an extended tent to provide cover for stars heading into one of the biggest premieres in recent memory -- with the film being screened in three
separate theaters: the Dolby, Chinese and El Capitan.

"It has never, ever attracted such interest from around the world," actor Anthony Daniels, who has portrayed the droid C-3PO in all seven "Star Wars" films, told news media on the red carpet. "People are probably watching live
streams of this in Australia and Japan and so on. To walk into this thing (tent) which looks like an amazing part of our sets on the films -- I feel totally at home.

"... I should be totally cool about it, but I'm not," Daniels said.

"I'm having a really amazing time. I can't wait to see the film because I haven't wanted to see more than I'm involved in. I want the surprise that you and everybody else will get for once."

About two dozen die-hard fans have braved rain, cold and wind for more than a week while they camped out outside the TCL Chinese Theatre for a chance to be one of the first to see the movie when it opens later this week.

The campers watched from a distance with envy tonight, when crowds of Hollywood insiders attended the premiere.

Hollywood Boulevard was be closed for four blocks between Sycamore and Highland avenues -- where the three theaters are located -- for what could be the largest movie premiere in Hollywood history. Even the Academy Awards only require a one-block closure.

"Preparations are huge," said Sgt. Robert Ward of the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Station, who told City News Service that he counted the number of campers.

The campers have been staked out in front of the Chinese Theatre at Orange Drive and Hollywood Boulevard for days and their numbers have grown to 25, Ward said.

While they had to leave the four-block area for tonight's star-studded premiere, the theater was expected to hold their gear until they can return after the premiere crowd leaves.

The LAPD's Hollywood Station alone deployed 70 officers to secure the premiere, Ward said. Other divisions also provided officers, and studios employed private security for their VIPs.

There were no incidents, police said.

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