Star-Studded Audience For Olympic Opening Ceremony
Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit and lifted during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012
LONDON, England --
The queen and James Bond gave the London Olympics a royal entrance like no other Friday in an opening ceremony that rolled to the rock of the Beatles, the Stones and The Who.
And the creative genius of Danny Boyle spliced it all together.
Brilliant. Cheeky, too.
The highlight of the Oscar-winning director’s $42 million show was pure movie magic, using trickery to make it seem that Britain’s beloved 86-year-old Queen Elizabeth II had parachuted into the stadium with the nation’s most famous spy.
A short film showed Daniel Craig as 007 driving to Buckingham Palace in a black London cab and, pursued by the royal corgis, meeting the queen, who played herself.
“Good evening, Mr. Bond,” she said.
They were shown flying in a helicopter over London landmarks and a waving statue of Winston Churchill — the queen in a salmon-colored dress, Bond dashing as ever in a black tuxedo — before leaping into the inky night over Olympic Park.
At the same moment, real skydivers appeared as the stadium throbbed to the James Bond theme. And moments after that, the monarch appeared in person, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip.
Organizers said it was thought to be the first time she has acted on film.
“The queen made herself more accessible than ever before,” Boyle said.
In the stadium, Elizabeth stood solemnly while a children’s choir serenaded her with “God Save the Queen,” and members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force raised the Union Jack.
Boyle sprang another giant surprise and picked seven teenage athletes for the supreme honor of igniting the Olympic cauldron. Together, they touched flaming torches to trumpetlike tubes that spread into a ring of fire.
The flames rose and joined elegantly together to form the cauldron. Fireworks erupted over the stadium to music from Pink Floyd. And with a singalong of “Hey Jude,” Beatle Paul McCartney closed a show that ran 45 minutes beyond its scheduled three hours.
Organizers said the cauldron would be moved Sunday night to the corner of the stadium where a giant bell tolled during the show.
Boyle turned the stadium into a giant juke box, with a nonstop rock and pop homage to cool Britannia that ensured the show never caught its breath.
The high-adrenaline soundtrack veered from classical to irreverent. Boyle daringly included the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” and a snippet of its version of “God Save the Queen” — an anti-establishment punk anthem once banned by the BBC.
The encyclopedic review of modern British music continued with a 1918 Broadway standard adopted by the West Ham football team, the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by still another Queen, and other tracks too numerous to mention, but not to dance to.
The evening started with fighter jets streaming red, white and blue smoke and roaring over the stadium, packed with a buzzing crowd of 60,000 people, at 8:12 p.m. — or 20:12 in the 24-hour time observed by Britons.
Boyle, one of Britain’s most successful filmmakers, who directed “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Trainspotting,” had a ball with his favored medium, mixing filmed passages with live action in the stadium to hypnotic effect, with 15,000 volunteers taking part in the show.
Actor Rowan Atkinson as “Mr. Bean” provided laughs, shown dreaming that he was appearing in “Chariots of Fire,” the inspiring story of a Scotsman and an Englishman at the 1924 Paris Games.
There was a high-speed flyover of the Thames, the river that winds like a vein through London and was the gateway for the city’s rise over the centuries as a great global hub of trade and industry.
Headlong rushes of movie images took spectators on wondrous, heart-racing voyages through everything British: a cricket match, the London Tube and the roaring, abundant seas that buffet and protect this island nation.
Opening the ceremony, children popped balloons with each number from 10 to 1, leading a countdown that climaxed with Bradley Wiggins, the newly crowned Tour de France champion.
Wearing his yellow winner’s jersey, Wiggins rang a 23-ton Olympic Bell from the same London foundry that made Big Ben and Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell. Its thunderous chime was a nod to the British tradition of pealing bells to celebrate the end of war and the crowning of kings and queens, and now for the opening of a 17-day festival of sports — London’s record third as host.
The show then shifted to a portrayal of idyllic rural Britain — a place of meadows, farms, sport on village greens, picnics and Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne’s bear who has delighted generations of British children tucked warmly in bed.
But that “green and pleasant land,” to quote poet William Blake, then took a darker, grittier turn.
The set was literally torn asunder, the hedgerows and farm fences carried away, as Boyle shifted to the industrial transformation that revolutionized Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, the foundation for an empire that reshaped world history. Belching chimneys rose where only moments earlier sheep had trod.
The Industrial Revolution also produced terrifying weapons, and Boyle built a moment of hush into his show to honor those killed in war.
“This is not specific to a country. This is across all countries, and the fallen from all countries are celebrated and remembered,” he explained to reporters ahead of the ceremony.
“Because, obviously, one of the penalties of this incredible force of change that happened in a hundred years was the industrialization of war, and the fallen,” he said. “You know, millions fell.”
Olympic organizers separately rejected calls for a moment of silence for 11 Israeli athletes and coaches slain by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The parade of nations featured most of the roughly 10,500 athletes — some planned to stay away to save their strength for competition — marching behind the flags of the 204 nations taking part.
Greece had the lead, as the spiritual home of the games, and Team Great Britain was last, as host. Prince William and his wife, Kate, joined in thunderous applause that greeted the British team, which marched to the David Bowie track “Heroes.” A helicopter showered the athletes and stadium with 7 billion tiny pieces of paper — one for each person on Earth.
Both Bahrain and Brunei featured female flagbearers in what has been called the Olympics’ Year of the Woman. For the first time at the games, each national delegation includes women, and a record 45 percent of the athletes are women. Three Saudi women marching behind the men in their delegation flashed victory signs with their fingers.
“This is a major boost for gender equality,” said the International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge. These are his last games as head of the IOC. He steps down in 2013 after completing the maximum two terms.
Rogge honored the “great, sports-loving country” of Britain as “the birthplace of modern sport,” and he appealed to the thousands of athletes assembled before him for fair play.
“Character counts far more than medals. Reject doping. Respect your opponents. Remember that you are all role models. If you do that, you will inspire a generation,” Rogge said.
The queen then said: “I declare open the games of London, celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era.”
Last month, the nation put on a festive Diamond Jubilee — a small test run for the games — to mark her 60 years on the throne, a reign that began shortly after London’s last Olympics, in 1948.
Former world heavyweight champion and 1960 Rome Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Ali was cheered when he appeared briefly with his wife, Lonnie, before the Olympic flag was unfurled.
Some 8,000 torchbearers, mostly unheralded Britons, had carried the flame on a 70-day, 8,000-mile journey from toe to tip of the British Isles, whipping up enthusiasm for a $14 billion Olympics taking place during a severe recession.
The final torchbearers were kept secret — remarkable given the scrutiny on these, the first Summer Games of the Twitter era.
The show’s lighter moments included puppets drawn from British children’s literature — Captain Hook from “Peter Pan,” Cruella de Vil from “101 Dalmations” and Lord Voldemort from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, as well as Mary Poppins.
Their appearance had a serious message, too — the importance of literacy.
“If you can read and write, you’re free, or you can fight for your freedom,” Boyle said.
Copyright 2013 by Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Aly Raisman Gets Drug Tested At Access Hollywood Live; Gymnast Dishes On Dancing With The Stars
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings & Husband Welcome Baby Girl
Danny Boyle: Queen Elizabeth II Volunteered To Appear In Olympic James Bond Spoof
Olympian Oscar Pistorius Charged With Murder
Dancing With The Stars: Fierce Five Olympians To Join Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough In Freestyle
Shawn Johnson On How Making The Dancing Finals Would Help Make Up For Missing Olympics
Healthy Hollywood: Wellness Wednesday – An Olympic Athlete’s Recovery Secret!
Alex Morgan Dishes On All-Night Olympic Partying
Volleyball Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings Ready To Grow Her Family
Phillip Phillips On His Health & The Not-So-Extravagant Purchase He Made After Winning Idol
Missy Franklin Gets Olympic Ink
Gabby Douglas & Jordyn Wieber’s Hollywood Dreams Include Vampires & Werewolves
Chris Harrison On Ryan Lochte’s Bachelor Chances: ‘You Can’t Pee In The Hot Tub!’
Apolo Anton Ohno: ‘I’m 50/50’ On Competing In 2014 Winter Olympic Games
Aly Raisman Not Embarrassed By Parents’ Enthusiasm; Plans To Go On Post-Olympic Shopping Spree
Ryan Lochte Would ‘Definitely’ Consider Being TV’s Next Bachelor: I Want ‘To Find Someone To Settle Down With’
George Michael Defends Controversial Olympics Closing Ceremony Performance
Ryan Lochte Headed To 90210
Gabby Douglas Is Golden On Tonight Show
Cashing In On The Olympics: Who Will Turn Gold Into Green?
NBC: London Olympics ‘Most-Watched’ TV Event In US History
Why Did Prince William & The Queen Miss The Olympics Closing Ceremony?
Gold As The New Black? Top Brit Fashion Designers, Models Get Their Olympic Moment, Too
Olympics Come To Rocking End With A Pop Party
Bruce Jenner Reflects On His Olympic Village Partying: I Was ‘Prudish’
Golden Globes 2013: Missy Franklin & Evan Lysacek - Olympians On The Red Carpet!
Olympic gold medalists, swimmer Missy Franklin and figure skater Evan Lysacek, admit that they’re starstruck over all the major celebrities on the red carpet, but are they on a date or attending as friends? Plus, Missy gushes over finally getting to meet Justin Bieber recently with a little help from Access. Also, is Evan ready for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia?
Fierce Five’s Fabulous Time On Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars
The Fierce Five talk with Access about how much fun they had taking part in Shawn Johnson’s freestyle on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” Finals. So, would they want to do “Dancing with the Stars”? Plus, they chat about meeting President Obama, but how did McKayla get him to make the “not impressed” face?
Ryan Lochte Talks 90210 Cameo & His Hollywood Crush
Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte chats with AccessHollywood.com’s Laura Saltman on the set of “90210.” What did he think of his first TV gig? Was acting tougher than he thought it would be? Plus, which Hollywood actress would he like to meet?
What’s Next For Ryan Lochte?
Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte chats with AccessHollywood.com’s Laura Saltman on the set of “90210.” Aside from acting on TV, what else does he hope to do when he moves to Los Angeles? Plus, what advice did he give fellow Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin about turning pro?
Missy Franklin Dishes On Vince Vaugh’s The Internship & Pretty Little Liars
Missy Franklin tells Access’ Michelle Beadle all the “amazing” things she’s been able to do since coming back from the 2012 London Summer Olympics, including her cameo in Vince Vaughn’s “The Internship” and “Pretty Little Liars.” So, does she get nervous about acting?
Missy Franklin: It’s ‘Such An Honor’ To Be At The 33rd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala
Before the 33rd Annual Salute to Women in Sports Gala, Missy Franklin chats with Access’ Michelle Beadle about getting glammed for the event up while doing her homework. Also, she tells Michelle how honored she feels to be nominated for 2012 Individual Sportswoman of the Year.
Has Missy Franklin Decided On Which College She Will Attend?
Missy Franklin talks with Access’ Michelle Beadle about how students at her high school treat her following return from the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Now, that she’s a senior in high school, has she decided on which college she’ll attend?
Daniel Craig Talks Hosting Saturday Night Live & Working With The Queen For The Summer Olympics
Daniel Craig chats with Access’ Michelle Beadle at the press junket for the latest James Bond film, “Skyfall.” What was it like hosting “Saturday Night Live”? Was he nervous? Plus, how did he react when he found out that he’d be working with The Queen for the spot at the London games?
Rosario Dawson Talks Dating Director Danny Boyle: ‘We Just Really Appreciate Each Other’
Rosario Dawson discusses dating director Danny Boyle. Did the two start dating before or after shooting their upcoming film, “Trance”? Plus, who made the first move? Also, did Danny (who directed the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics) reveal any top secret details to her before the big games?
What Advice Did The Fierce Five Get From Taylor Swift?
Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Kyla Ross chat with Access about their stand out moments since returning from the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Also, they talk about meeting Taylor Swift.
The Fierce Five Have A Blast On Kellogg’s Tour Of Gymnastics Champions
Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Kyla Ross talk with Access about taking part in Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions. Also, have they been able to see the sights while touring? Plus, are they having fun sharing a tour bus together?
USA’s Fierce Five Hit The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards
Olympian Gabby Douglas brought her gold medal-winning moves to Alicia Keys’ VMA performance. Gabby and the rest of Team USA’s Fierce Five had the time of their lives on Thursday night and Access was there with them as they got ready for their VMA debut.
Sean Lennon & Yoko Ono Discuss The John Lennon Tribute At The Olympic Closing Ceremony
Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono chat with Access’ Michelle Beadle about watching the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics. So, what did they think of The Beatles and John Lennon tributes? What did Sean find the most touching?
Aly Raisman Is The All American Girl
Aly Raisman is excited to meet fans and sign autographs at American Girl Place in New York City, where she chats with Access about life after the London Summer Olympics. Also, she tells Access about her hometown parade. Plus, has she stayed in touch with her teammates? American Girl will launch their newest historical character, Caroline Abbott, on September 4.
Alex Morgan Dishes On All-Night Party After Winning Olympic Gold Medal
US soccer star Alex Morgan gets teary-eyed after watching video from the Summer Olympics where she scored the winning goal against Canada to get the team into the finals. Plus, Alex reveals details of how hard she, her teammates and her family partied after winning gold. Also, which team member is the biggest partier?
Kerri Walsh Jennings Calls Third Olympic Gold Medal The Sweetest
Kerri Walsh Jennings explains why even though she and volleyball partner Misty May-Treanor have won gold at two previous Olympic games, winning at the London Summer Olympics was the sweetest. Plus, Kerri was honored to be featured on the cereal box for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, but what errors did she notice on the box?
Kerri Walsh Jennings Ready To Focus On Family Following London Olympics
Kerri Walsh Jennings explains how she and her volleyball partner Misty May-Treanor held off having kids (a third for Kerri and a first for Misty) so that they could train for the London Olympics, but now she’s ready to add to her family. So, how do her two sons feel about getting a new sibling?
Kerri Walsh Jennings: ‘Zero Chance’ Of Playing With Misty May-Treanor For 2016 Rio Olympics
Kerri Walsh Jennings admits it’s unlikely she and volleyball partner Misty May-Treanor will ever play again professionally as a team — but what are Kerri’s plans for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro?
Olympian Missy Franklin Talks Life After London
U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin and her father, Richard, stop by Access Hollywood Live to chat about how proud Richard is of Missy’s success at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Also, Missy discusses her plans for college, but does she want to turn pro? Plus, she talks about her class schedule for her senior year in high school.
Ryan Lochte Dishes On Meeting Prince Harry
Ryan Lochte stops by Access Hollywood Live to talk about meeting Prince Harry and racing him in Las Vegas. In light of Prince Harry’s recent photo scandal, is he more wary of people taking pictures of him at parties?
Is Ryan Lochte Satisfied With His Olympics Results?
Ryan Lochte talks with Billy Bush and Kit Hoover about getting five medals at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, but is he satisfied with the results? Also, the swimmer reveals just how wild the Olympic village got!
Savannah Guthrie Loving Today Show Anchor Gig & Morning Show Ratings War
Savannah Guthrie explains how she is still giddy over getting to co-host the “Today” show 31 days after landing the gig. Plus, what does she think about the ratings war between “Today” and “Good Morning America”?
Ryan Lochte Parties In Las Vegas: What Does Dr. Ruth Think About It?
After winning gold at the Summer Olympics in London, Ryan Lochte headed to Las Vegas to party, but what does famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer think about the comments Ryan Lochte’s mom made about the swimmer having one-night stands? Plus, 84-year-old Dr. Ruth shares her saucy opinion about 28-year-old Ryan’s Speedo look.
Is Gabby Douglas Nervous About Her Interview With Oprah Winfrey?
Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas chat with Access’ Michelle Beadle about some of the biggest names who have congratulated them on Twitter. Also, do they have aspirations to go into acting? Plus, is Gabby nervous about her upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey?
Jordyn Wieber & Gabby Douglas’ Whirlwind Homecoming Tour
Gold medal-winning gymnasts Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas talk with Access’ Michelle Beadle about their whirlwind tour since getting back from the London Summer Olympics. Also, they tell Michelle how excited they are to take a break and return home.
Olympic Closing Ceremony 2012: Photos From London
Check out the scene at the Olympic Closing Ceremony 2012 in London!
Royals At The Olympics
See which members of England’s royal family made it out to the 2012 London Olympic Games!
Summer Olympics: Highlights From London 2012
Check out pictures as Team USA takes on the world in the 2012 London Olympics!
Olympic Golden Guy Michael Phelps
See hot shots of the Olympic star!
Shawn Johnson- From Olympic Gold To ‘Dancing’ Darling
From Olympic gold to “Dancing With The Stars,” all the hot shots of Shawn Johnson!
Olympic Athletes & Their Celebrity Look-A-Likes
Is that Michael Phelps… or John Krasinski? Hope Solo… or Jennifer Carpenter? Check out this collection of athletes from the Summer Olympics and their star dopplegangers!
Access At The Olympics: Photos From London
Photos of Billy Bush and the gang on the ground in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics!
Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012: Photos From London
All the great sights from the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics!
A Look Back: Beijing 2008 Olympics — The Opening Ceremonies
Take a look back at the spectacular scenes from the 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Beijing!
Olympic All-Stars: Hot Shots Of Your Favorite Olympians!
Hot shots of your favorite Olympians!
Barbara Walters’ ‘10 Most Fascinating People’ List 2008
Misty May-Treanor: From Solid Gold To ‘Dancing’ Queen
Hot shots of Olympian and ‘Dancing’ Season 7 cast member Misty May-Treanor!
Beijing Olympians Visit Oprah
Fresh off success in Beijing, the U.S. medalists visit Oprah!
2008 Beijing Olympics: Closing Ceremonies
Olympic Athlete Celebrity Knock-Offs
Check out this gallery of the Olympians and their star look-alikes!
Check out these hot shots of some of the hottest athletes participating in the Beijing Olympic Games.
Access At The Beijing Olympics: Week Two Of Competition
Top 10 Olympic-Inspired Films
Celebrate the Olympic spirit with the top 10 Olympic-inspired movies!
Check out the Olympics fashions over the years!
Beijing Olympics: The Athletes Arrive
Beijing Olympics: The Athletes Arrive
Access At The Beijing Olympics: Week One, Before The Games Begin
The Access Hollywood Olympics staff arrived a week before the games began, to bring you all of the stories about the culture of China, and to capture excitement leading up the Olympic Games’ beginning!
2008 Beijing Olympics: Men’s Basketball
2008 Beijing Olympics: Swimmers
Olympic Trials 2008
Check out these hot shots as athletes compete in the 2008 Olympic trials
2008 Beijing Olympics: Facilities & Preparations