The much-anticipated Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics is getting underway in England, though we Americans won’t get to see the broadcast of it until NBC airs it at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, so that Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira can walk us through the pageantry, parade of nations and awkward, inaudible interviews with gold medal hopefuls.
Post sports columnist Mike Wise is currently live-blogging the event as it happens; tonight I’ll live-blog the telecast along with Melissa Bell. Because clearly we need to walk you through what Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira already are walking you through.
The Opening Ceremonies is about celebrating the many nations that have sent their best athletes to London to compete. It’s also about scoring primo ratings for NBC. But beyond those two things, at least for some, it’s about celebrity-spotting. So before things get underway, here’s a brief primer on some of the famous faces expected to appear during the pyrotechnical event that ushers in two straight weeks of TV binging on gymastics, soccer and synchronized swimming.
A shroud of secrecy — an invisibility cloak, if you will — has covered up many of the details about the Opening Ceremonies. But here’s what seems pretty rock-solid from an entertaiment perspective.
— Daniel Craig , a favorite of Celebritology readers, is expected to participate in the ceremony, at the very least as a spectator, reports ABC. Because in addition to remembering the value of good, international sportmanship, it’s important that we also remember that the next James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” is coming soon to a theater near us.
—Director Danny Boyle , the man who orchestrated this massive presentation, will undoubtedly be there with 80,000 butterflies in his stomach.Boyle’s vision is rumored to include green pastures, sheep, possible references to Mary Poppins and Harry Potter, an homage to the Glastonbury Festival and James Franco losing an arm. Ah, just kidding about the arm. That’s a little “127 Hours” humor for you. I’m not kidding about the sheep, though.
— Duran Duran is one of the bands performing in the Opening Ceremony Celebration Concert, happening in Hyde Park. It’s unclear whether their set will be featured in NBC’s broadcast. But if they sing about lighting torches and waving them and I don’t get to see it, I am going to be pretty ticked. (Plus, look how excited bassist John Taylor was earlier today before Duran played.)
— The AP reports that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will be onhand to witness the spectacle. Which means — oh my God — The Leg could make a reappearance! And even if it doesn’t, someone will photoshop it into a photograph of Jolie at the Olympics that will imediately go viral. Exciting!
—The royals — Queen Elizabeth, Duchess Catherine, Princes William and Harry — will be there, of course, although probably not with ping-pong paddles in hand. But one can hope.
— No one knows for sure who will ultimately light the big cauldron. Some say it could be David Beckham, who is confirmed as a ceremony attendee. Even if he doesn’t get the final torch lighting honor, we can at least hope for an evening in which his wife, Victoria Beckham, makes these kinds of faces.
— Sir Paul McCartney is slated to close out the ceremony with the night’s final musical performance, according to the AP. Hopefully he’ll get it in before curfew, unlike his recent duet with Bruce Springsteen. Otherwise, the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies will end like this: “Hey Ju — ”
Don’t forget to join me and Melissa at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight; a link to the live blog will be posted here later today.