During the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, I met a few exceptionally friendly celebs. Most notably, The star of Clash Of The Titans, as well as the all time highest grossing movie, Avatar. Of course, that man is Sam Worthington.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Sam on the red carpet, first for his film with Oscar winning acting legend Helen Mirren in "The Debt". At that time I had made the strong statement that I thought Sam was the best signer at film fest. After that interaction I did run into another strong contender with Dexter star, Michael C. Hall. But Sam had a chance to put a stranglehold on the title...and he did.
Final day of my film fest, I happened to come across Sam at the hotel. There was about 5-6 of us waiting, and he signed ALL THIRTEEN photos I had at the same time. he made little comments, asking me what I was doing with them, told me he didnt care if I was selling them & even said good on me if I did. His easy going persona didnt stop with me. When a very cute Japanese girl asked him if he would remove his glasses for a photo with, he quickly responded in jest with "sure, if you remove your top", then proceeded to take off his glasses anyways, despite the girl not acceptiong his counter-proposal. With another fan who was getting an index card signed, he made her sign 1 for him & give it to him. Another fan he posed for a photo with, holding the signed index card from the other fan. He was just a joy to be around.
With any large venture such as a film fest, there is always going to be losers, and winners. This years biggest winner, my NEW Best Celebrity encounter Number 1 ranked star - SAM WORTHINGTON!
You can see my best, and worst list here
Every event has people who were simply better & who were worse at interacting & respecting the fans, pros & random passerbys. This year was no different.
With so many things going on at the same time during TIFF, as many as 5 premieres were sometimes going on at the same time, it was impossible to cover them all & experience each & every celebrity there. So its very likely someone else would have a fairly different list than mine. But, with around 100 hours of hounding in the books for me, I feel this is a fairly well rounded list.
So, I give you MY list of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival Best & worst list.
WINNER- Sam Worthington - All toll I got 17 autographs from the Avatar star. I got a photo with. He joked with the few of us standing at his hotel on the final day of my fest. His choice for Top spot of the fest was in my opinion, undebateable.
2- Michael C Hall - The Dexter star was terrific on the red carpet, signing practically everything asked...despite knowing he had signed for people prior. At the airport, the reports had him signing 3 items per person. At his after party he signed again, he took photos with & even took a few seconds to respond to my breif questions about how he thought the film was.
3- Megan Fox - The Transformers star was a red carpet signing machine. The 11 autographs I got from her was my all time single person high at TIFF till Worthington blew her out of the water.
4- James Caan - The Godfather star was an exceptional signer going in to and coming out of his press conference.
5- Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler star may have had a pretty ugly autograph, but he was more than willing to scrawl it on everything asked...and thats better than not signing at all.
6- Aaron Eckhart - Saw The Dark Knight star on multiple occasions & he was always willing to sign.
7- Amber Heard - Was a very willing signer at her Midnight Madness premiere for The Ward.
8- Danielle Harris - Was very willing to sign, take photos with & pose for photos for the fans who came out to her Midnight Madness premiere for Stake Land
9- Sally Hawkins - She came all the way back out of her vehicle to come & sign my photo after she realized I was the only person there with a specific item for her.
10- Sarah Silverman - Although her co-star Michael C Hall was the star of the show with the fans, the sexy comedienne worked the crowd well also, signing whatever was asked.
11- Nicole Kidman - Saw the 3X Golden Globe & 1 time Academy Award winner sign a plethora on 2 different occasions. Probably the best signing legend of the festival.
12- Lyndsy Fonseca - The sexy Kick Ass/HIMYM star signed & took photos with anyone who asked at her premiere.
13- Emma Stone - The Easy A hottie was a great signer on her red carpet. The autographs may have been less than spectacular, but she made sure everyone got 1.
14- Hallie Switzer - When Modra director Ingrid Veninger came out & handed out postcards to the awaiting fans at the press conference hotel for her star to sign, Switzer was put in a position of having to suddenly sign a plethora of autographs, despite few knowing of her before then. She handled it quite well.
15- Helen Mirren - The screen legend was a decent signer at both of her premieres.
Honourable mention- Yeardley Smith, Judy Greer, Penn Badgley, Rachel Blanchard
LOSER- Eva Mendes - When you cant do a roll down for ONE person, then RUN past 5 people a few minutes later at a different venue, then snub a dozen or so upon departing that venue. Dont do photos with anyone, and to top it off, have an autograph session the day prior where you wont sign anything but the specified item your giving out and wont allow photos with or even to have fans interact with you...your a grade A bitch.
2- Clive Owen - Upon arriving in Toronto he put on a stone faced look that as 1 hound stated "he looked like his mother just died" while he walked the 50-75 yards to his vehicle. Ignoring all requests for autographs, photos with, or questions.
3- Frances Conroy - Someone thinks 1 Golden Globe 6 years ago actually means something. The haggard old bitch didnt sign going into her press conference, despite being the first one to show up by quite awhile...then refused to sign leaving either. All while less than 5 people either time even cared to ask her.
4- Bill Murray - Shocker. The Ghostbusters star refused all requests for autographs going into his premiere. He is a notoriously terrible signer.
5- Jeremy Renner - Imagine Frances Conroy, but younger & male, and without the Golden Globe. Few people cared about him, and he put in no effort accomodating the minimal requests.
6- Winona Ryder - Perhaps she was in a hurry to get away after stealing something every single time? I dont know, but she sure made every effort to get away from sharpies wherever possible. Despite not having a single role that even her agent could name since 1999, Ms. Robber...err, Ryder insisted she would only sign for children....because we all know KIDS are huge fans of all those epic recent movies shes done like...umm?
7- Natalie Portman - Natalie didnt sign, nor really even acknowledge the fans at her press conference. I however heard she signed some on her red carpet arrival at least.
8- Vera Farmiga - The very unknown actress who had less than 10 people asking her refused to sign going in to her premiere & snuck out while larger names were busy signing.
9- Clint Eastwood - As a director, you think you would want to leave your premiere with good PR. But Clint didnt...instead, stiffing dozens of fans & collectors who had waited up to as much as 9 hrs in a cramped pen, all so he could attend a party.
10- Josh Brolin - snuck out of his premiere to avoid the dozens of fans who waited hours to see the stars leave.
11- Anthony Hopkins - see Josh Brolin.
12- Woody Allen - Only difference between him & Clint is, he had a legitimate excuse for ditching the fans. He had a plane to catch
13- Matt Damon - ONE autograph total, which he looked truly annoyed to be doing & a shrug of the shoulders is all the 70-100 fans waiting out back on his departure got from him.
14- Freida Pinto - She signed less than 10 autographs on her red carpet arrival. Sad that her boyfriend, who wasnt even in the film, was able to sign far more than her.
15- Jon Hamm - Signed a small handful going into his press conference, then ignored everyone leaving...despite telling the crowd on the way in he would get everyone leaving.
dishonorable mention - Vincent Cassel, Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Ryan Phillippe
Top 5 moments
1 - Meeting Michael C Hall at his after party & getting a photo with.
2 - Meeting Sam Worthington at 9:30 AM on my final day of film fest & getting him to sign everything I had & do a photo with.
3 - Getting an autograph from Jill Hennessy only a block from where I was standing thanks to reading twitter.
4 - Sally Hawkins coming back out of her car to sign for me after he premiere.
5 - The director of Modra, Ingrid Veninger giving out promo postcards to the crowd for her movies star, Hallie Switzer to sign.
Bottom 5 moments
1 - Wasting my time chasing the likes of Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, Matt Damon, Anthony Hopkins & Josh Brolin, when I could have gone to a few other events & got a handful of other people I could have used as well.
2 - Attempting to get Malin Akerman after her movie & only having her drive by & wave...despite less than 10 people being there.
3 - Seeing Rosamund Pike come out of the hotel & realizing I had taken my photo out of my binder prior to then.
4 - Having Eva Mendes drive by me & not sign, or roll down the window for a photo or anything, despite me being the only one there for her.
5 - Missing the likes ot Robert De Niro, Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman, Harvey Keitel and a few others by mere inches because of random dumb luck.
Day 6 started a bit slow, but it turned out to be pretty good once the day ended.
The morning press conferences turned out to be good & bad.
While I did very good with the likes of James Caan & Aaron Eckhart, getting 3 each from them (Caan 1 going in, 2 leaving. Eckhart all 3 leaving). The likes of Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman & Vincent Cassel proved less successful, despite them signing a limited amount.
Notorious non-signers Natalie Portman & Winona Ryder stuck to their non-promoting ways that morning, and were joined in the "I dont need your ticket sales" group by unknown Vera Farmiga.
After the up & down morning, I headed to a hotel to see if I could nab a few autographs with the few hours there was to kill before the premieres started.
Much to my shock & disappointment, several Toronto Maple Leafs were seen leaving, and signing. I had originally planned to go for the Leafs on this trip, but it never happened...and now they were taunting me by walking right out past me.
The likes of Patrick Wilson & Kick Ass cutie Lyndsy Fonseca would stroll out of the hotel before someone I needed finally would leave. John Turturro would come out & sign a few items, including 1 for me.
Freida Pinto would come out & rush by the crowd without even so much as stopping for a photo, let alone an autograph. Rosamund Pike signed a couple, but stupid me, I wasnt carrying my photo of her at the time & missed a chance to get it done.
A bit later Ingrid Veninger, the director of an independant movie "Modra" came out with one of the actresses in it & handed out small promo placards to the crowd for her star to sign. In my opinion, this was 1 of the best jobs anyone did at TIFF of trying to promote their film. The actress Hallie Switzer seemed overwhelmed by it all, but happily signed a couple dozen autographs before having to be whisked away. At the time I didnt know it was the director promoting her & the movie. I joked with Hallie that "you have a great publicist" & thats when Ms. Switzer told me "thats actually the director". This was certainly one of the cooler autograph stories of TIFF for me.
If Hallie never becomes a star, she can at least lay claim to being sandwiched in between notable actors like John Turturro and Edward Norton in my autographing ventures.... as Smoochy was my next score at the hotel. Norton signed very few, but I managed to squeeze my Smoochy photo thru & got an autograph. On that note, I decided it was a great time to get out of there & hurry to the first premiere of the evening.
The Debt premiere turned out to be ok...despite the fact I only had 1 photo of Helen Mirren to get signed when I arrived. My friend had sent out some photos for Sam Worthington but I had not received them by the time of the premiere. However, my friends needed some assistance, so I wasnt completely shut out of getting Worthington. I managed to get 4 from him & my 1 Mirren photo done.
From there, a lot of the hounds chased after Bruce Springsteen. I put in a few minutes on him, but really I didnt do much in trying for him as I didnt think the odds were too good of getting him.
Oddly, going for The Boss did lead me to lucking into a Jill Hennessy autograph, after I read a tweet that she was at a corner just 1 block from where I was waiting for Mr. Springsteen.
A lot of the big hounds were still focused on Bruce when the premiere of Buried, with Ryan Reynolds was going on as it started a little earlier. I did well there, getting 5 autographs, and a little quip from Reynolds when I displayed an unofficial Green Lantern item for him to sign, which Ryan joked "this doesnt look too official" before signing it.
After a coupke sluggish days, it was nice to have another strong day. As 20 autographs were had for the 2nd time in a week.
A+ Sam Worthington
A+ James Caan
A+ Aaron Eckhart
A Hallie Switzer
A Jill Hennessy
B+ Helen Mirren
B+ Ryan Reynolds
B- John Turturro
C+ Nicole Kidman
C+ Rosamund Pike
C+ Edward Norton
C Keanu Reeves
C- Patrick Wilson
C- Vincent Cassel
F Freida Pinto
F Natalie Portman
F Vera Farmiga
F Winona Ryder
Day 5 turned out to be better than the prior day for sure.
On the surface I didnt see a boatload of potential, but I thought it wouldbe "ok".
My day started pretty bad though, as I got into Toronto a few hrs later than planned & missed early day hounding chances.
It got worse when the first premiere I would try would be for Rachel Weisz. She showed up to the Elgin (the venue of horror from less than 24 hrs earlier) & we (5 of us) rushed the front door for autographs. She came over & signed 3...denying my photo saying she didnt sign "nudes" even though no nudity is shown behind a conventiently placed reptile. On her way out of the premiere I did manage 2 autographs...but I felt I was going to have a bad day at that time as I was now a couple hours more behind where I wanted to be.
From there I went to a premiere for Freida Pinto, she of the sneaky sneak action the night before. I really needed her boyfriend more than her, and luckily he was there. After not getting him at the airport a couple days earlier, I was happy to get Dev Patel to sign the photo I had...however, I never got Freida, as she only signed a few before heading into her premiere.
From there I headed back to the Elgin for a few other shows that were going on over there after the Weisz one.
Unfortunately I missed Jim Broadbent leaving, but had good spot for the rest of the night which turned out decently.
It helped me nab 1 autograph each from Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren & Nicole Kidman. As it would turn out, the only autopgraph I got there that I wouldnt get again was Kidman, but at the time I felt pretty good about things. Sadly, I missed a chance to get Keith Urban as well, as he signed some while he waited for Nicole to finish signing as well. I have heard multiple reports from people I know who have gone for Urban with no success...so this was a missed chance for sure.
From there I was back to Ryerson to nab 3 autographs at the midnight show of The Ward from Amber Heard. I also got a photo with Kick Ass/HIMYM cutie Lyndsy Fonseca.
It wasnt a great day, but it was a relief to kick the dreadful 1 autograph in 44 hr slump I had been in prior to Weisz signing.
A+ Amber Heard
A Aaron Eckhart
A Helen Mirren
A Nicole Kidman
A Lyndsy Fonseca
A- Dev Patel
B- Rachel Weisz
D Freida Pinto
A 9 autograph day doesnt usually thrill me, but after the day before...I was pleased....especially to finally get an A lister like Nicole Kidman as well.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.