The Best Guest Star of 2011 as voted by you the fans was.. Michael Rosenbaum - Smallville.
In the last season of the epic CW hit series Smallville, they brought in a plethora of guest stars from the past seasons to go out with a bang & to boost ratings. None were more prominent & anticipated than the return of Clark Kent's nemesis for several seasons, Lex Luthor, played by Michael Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum returned to the show that boosted his career for 1 final episode, the epic series finale.
Michael beat out another Smallville baddie, "Zod" actor Callum Blue finished 2, ahead of a plethora of Supernatural guest stars. James Marsters 3rd, Genevieve Padalecki 4th, Julian Richings 5th & Alona Tal in 6th. Perhaps too many choices for SPN fans prevented them from fighting for 1st. In 7th was Leverage guest star Mark Sheppard, 8th was How I Met Your Mother guest star Katie Holmes, 9th went to Community guest star Michelle Krusiec, and rounding out the finalists was Jennifer Love Hewitt from Hot In Cleveland.
Final vote totals.
Michael Rosenbaum "Smallville" 833
Callum Blue "Smallville" 749
James Marsters "Supernatural" 611
Genevieve Padalecki "Supernatural" 575
Julian Richings "Supernatural" 476
Alona Tal "Supernatural" 456
Mark Sheppard "Leverage" 298
Katie Holmes "How I Met Your Mother" 195
Michelle Krusiec "Community" 184
Jennifer Love Hewitt "Hot In Cleveland" 181
Now that 2011 has expired, it is time to look back at the year that was. I didnt travel too much this year, but that was ok, as elite names were roaming the streets of Vancouver throughout the year... now only if I had ran into some of them.
20 - Ellen Degeneres
I managed to get the talk show icon twice on her trip to Vancouver, including the 1st autograph I got in which I had to run 4 blocks to get after being given up to the second info on where she was. Few if any autographs I got this year took more energy out of me than that 1st 1 I got from her. Next day, she signed again and was happy to do it.
19 - Axl Rose
For a long time, I had heard nothing but horror stories about the lead singer for Guns N Roses. So I was not eager to go for him. However, this past time thru Vancouver, not only did the band actually play the show they came here to play, but Axl was even a willing signer. Pretty much anyone that went for him here got him.
18 - Simon Pegg
While here for Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, Mr. Pegg was the most often seen of the films stars. Whether it was at the airport, his hotel or the movie theatre, the Hot Fuzz star signed whatever was asked more often than not.
17 - Henry Cavill
The new Superman has been very good here so far. Although he is strict about limiting his autograph to 1 per person each time you see him, he has still been terrific in the interactions people have had with him.
16 - Cast of Sanctuary
Never had a bad experience with this cast, this year was no different. Whether it was at the Leo Awards, the airport or a charity event, each member of the cast was exceptional.
15 - Cast of The Secret Circle
This cast could have made the top 10, if it werent for 1 exceptionally bitter & sour life hating senior cast member of the show. That exception aside...the rest of the cast has been terrific with us.
14- Matt Barr & Aly Michalka
I miss Hellcats. Not just because of the campy cheerleader drama storylines. But because 2 of the nicer celebs we have had in Vancouver in a long time left when the show did. While some other cast members were a lot less thrilled to interact with fans during the shows 1 year run, Matt & Aly were as accomodating & friendly as you can expect. Class acts.
13- Cast Of Supernatural
Much like Ms. Torv from Fringe, the cast of Supernatural, whether its Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver or the recurring characters of the show have been quite good to us Vancouverites when we run into them. Long as the regulars respect the no asking them on set policy, they are more than receptive to signing and chatting with us away from set when we see them.
12 - Leo Awards
This years award ceremony for BC film industry was not as spectacular as past ones I had hounded. Much of that was because of an unexpected change of venue & the loss of 1 or 2 shows since last year. Still, a list of names came out that made the effort worthwhile.
11 - Amy Adams
I had heard that Ms. Adams was a very willing signer, but till I saw it for myself, I didnt understand just how good she was. She willingly signed for everyone till there was nothing left out there to sign. She did it too with a smile. Wish all movie stars could have that level of appreciation.
10 - Booboo Stewart, Myanna Buring, Julia Jones, Guri Weinberg
This past year, the final installment of the Twilight Saga series, Breaking Dawn 1 & 2 was filmed here. In the years prior, some of the bigger names in the film were at times, pretty decent signers. This year however, there was VERY FEW great interactions with the cast. The names above were the very few I can say were outstanding. Considering how massive the cast was, its sad you can count the great experiences on 1 hand. Not to say ALL the others were terrible, but that they didnt neccesarily stand out as great.
9- Cast Of Fringe
The cast of the hit FOX show Fringe is generally friendly (the occasional grumpy Mr. Noble encounter not withstanding) the true star from a fan interaction aspect is usually Anna Torv in past years. Despite seeing the regulars probably 100+ times combined over the shows run here, she still willingly signs for us, even at the absurd time of 5:30 AM. This season, Seth Gabel became a regular and skyrocketed up along side his Fringe co-star for terrific interactions. Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole & others are terrific as well.
8 - John Schneider
Although from an excitement standpoint, getting Mr. Schneider wasnt overly high for me (I was a Dukes of Hazzard fan..but not a massive fan), it was how wonderfully personable he was each & every time that won me over. My 1st interaction with him was 1 of the rare "I wasnt expecting that" situations where we were at the airport for persons unrelated, and saw a sign for him there. Knowing he was coming in for an episode eventually, we waited to see if it was him, it was. He happily signed then. Seeing him 2 more times after, he was just as gracious each time after, even at the Smallville wrap party, where some of the bigger stars were nothing short of rude, Mr. Schneider was 1 of the ones that made the fans waiting out there happy.
7 - Cast Of Once Upon A Time
Usually when new TV shows roll into town, odds are someone on the cast thinks more of themselves than they actually are. Not so with the cast of the new ABC fantasy drama Once Upon A Time. Each & every cast member I have met has been terrific with interacting with the fans & the pros. It was the overall attitude of this cast that made me hope for it to do well...I'm glad it is succeeding, this cast deserves it.
6- Sharlto Copley
The District 9 star is simply, awesome. How awesome is he with fans? After a flight that was the better part of a day, he stopped, chatted with fans at the airport, did photos with, and even cracked a few jokes. So awesome he did an autograph session for a local African import store "African Breese Imports" just because they asked...and at the autograph session, he had no qualms signing stacks for fans, collectors or dealers alike. One guy plopped down 30 or so photos, Sharlto went thru the entire stack, not once groaning about doing it and thanked the guy for coming afterwards.
5- Callum Blue
Being a huge Dead Like Me fan, I still get a bit excited when I meet any of the cast. This past year, I had a 4th (or 5th?) chance to meet Callum Blue. He was in town reprising his Smallville role as Zod. What made this meeting stand out more than others prior though was how it went down. I first learned he was going to be coming back..I then contacted him thru a site I knew he was a member of that I too was a member of. He replied back with when he was coming. I then tried, several times, but without success, to cross paths with him naturally. So I gave him another message & he told me what day he would be off. So I tried that day, called his room & he answered & came right down. In the pouring rain, he stood, signed, and chatted with my friend & I for several minutes.
4- Chloe Moretz
At 2010 TIFF I had Ms. Moretz high on my list of people to get...but she cancelled. This year however, Hit Girl was there, and made up for the year long wait. One of the best signers at TIFF. Even with volunteers telling her she had to go, she still kept signing.
3- TIFF - The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival
Individually, several of the events from Tiff could make this list, and a couple I did list individually. But for the mostpart, the entire event of the Toronto International Film Festival falls under 1 event for me. So thus, why it is going here. This years fest was certainly my most successful from a star power aspect, and total wise, it was close to my best. Stars like George Clooney, Megan Fox, Madonna, Nicolas Cage & Ryan Gosling made the event quite successful for me. It was the newer names I wasnt as faimiliar with before going that made some of the more cool moments though, like Chris Pratt, Ezra Miller, Dominic Monaghan and Sarah Bolger who all made me fans of them with the way they handled their attention.
2 - Tom Cruise
While I did get a disappointingly low total of 2 autographs from someone I was told "signs everything", a lot of that wasnt any fault of his or really mine either. It was just dumb luck. Still, I managed to get 2 from him, which was still 2 more than most hounds in Vancouver got from him. The 1 and only night outside the trade & convention center unfortunately turned out to be the 1 and only chance Vancouverites got to get the Mission Impossible star. He made the waiting worth it though, as Mr. Cruise strolled over to a crowd of 20-30 people (which swelled to 75-100 when extras & crew came over too) around midnight & did a 20-30 minute meet & greet with fans, taking photos & signing autographs. Each interaction he made feel special, he asked fans to make sure their photos turned out and even acknowledged autograph requests with a level of respect, and not just a "ugh, fine" mentality to it.
No disrespect to Mr. Cruise, but at the end of the day, a rare, hard to obtain signature is a bigger deal on average than a classy, easier to obtain star.
Anytime you get someone of Madonna's level of fame, its probably going to make your best list. The Material Girl has been known for quite awhile as, at best, an unwilling signer. However, when you are promoting a movie you directed & has been panned by many critics, you are on your best behaviour.
That is what fans in Toronto got when the pop icon was there to promote W.E. this past Summer for TIFF.
Madonna signed probably 75-100 autographs on the red carpet, and signed at dinner a bit later after her event as well.
Some honorable mentions should go out to the likes of Patrick Gilmore, Rose McGowan, Daniel & Henrik Sedin, Ben Cotton & Lyndsy Fonseca.
So, that concludes 2011. Some amazing successes for me. Granted, there was some downright failures as well. I somehow never got Matt Damon despite him being here for 2-3 months. All my Saoirse Ronan autographs were ruined by an ugly fading silver sharpie. I missed Robert DeNiro AGAIN by mere inches, and same with Brad Pitt this time.
Who will grace the list at the end of 2012? Going into 2011, there wasnt a lot of "sure things" I could see making the list. To be honest, most of the list is a complete surprise, simply because I didnt know going into 2011 these people would cross my paths.
On June 28, 2011 a couple things happened in my life.
One was less than interesting, as it was my birthday. Which I really am indifferent to, and frankly want to ignore...especially since I woke up with a slight scratchy feeling in my throat that day, and its since progressed into some type of cold/fever... which I am currently pushing thru to get this blog done.
On the bright side. I also uncovered the official location of the Dead Like Me restaraunt "Der Waffle Haus".
Yeah I know, lots of fans had the impression it was all in studio...and for episodes 2 thru the duration of its run, it was. A soundstage that MGM ran. But for the pilot episode, it was a different place. An on location place.
When I originally realized this, several years ago (not when it first came on air... I joined in after its 2 season run was already done) I picked up on some details immediately. 1- There was a KFC across the street. 2- Trolley buses go by there...something that most of Vancouver & its outskirts DONT have. Theres probably a dozen or so trolley bus routes in Vancouver. 3- It was on a major street. Something that was at least 2 lanes across each direction.
For a couple years, I had given up finding it. I had googled all the KFCs in Vancouver and none of them seemed to stand out as a possible match. Yesterday, I was again drawn into this mystery by a simple notification from facebook telling me the Dead Like Me page on there had been updated. Like several others I was drawn in to talking about the show again in the various posts on the board.
A post about where Georgia got torpedoed by the toilet seat drew me in. I responded to tell those in the thread where that spot was...then follow up posts had people asking about the location of Der Waffle haus. As usual, the simple answer that it was a studio location was brought up, once again, I knew that was infact false for the pilot.
I was determined, like I have been several times prior....to prove the Der Waffle Haus was an On Location spot somewhere. I re-watched the pilot, especially the parts where they were in the DWH. The night scene verified my old assumptions of there being a KFC close & a trolley bus going by. It was however, when I watched the daytime scene where they had "banana bonanzas all around" I clued in.... I'VE BEEN THERE! In fact, I for awhile, was a semi-regular there. How I didnt notice a hotel in the background on the day shoot in my previous attempts I dunno. The original KFC that was tip 1 back then has long since been closed & re-opened as a Starbucks. I was 99.9% sure this was the locale....now only to prove it.
I hopped on the bus (a trolley bus funny enough) & took the 10-12 min bus ride thru East Vancouver to my destination. As soon as I got off the bus, I knew it....now, to get some photo proof. I walked inside, and sat down. My lack of immediate material to guide me made me sit 1 booth off from where I assumed If only I had the common sense to watch a clip on youtube on the blackberry I had in my pocket before sitting down.
The booths still had the blue seats you see in the pilot. Where the daytime scene is done is almost right inside the door. In the pilot it was behind a wall...which till a couple yrs ago, actually used to still be there...but has since then been taken down. There was 2 sets of booths, I picked the wrong set lol. As I perused a menu I was already familiar with, I asked the waitress if anyone had been working here over 7 yrs, she said she had. I asked her if they filmed anything in here back then, she said "we've had several things done here". My 1st hope for solid confirmation was dashed. I proceeded in photographing different angles & things, like the Starbucks, the hotel across the street, a trolley bus going by & of course, 1 of the booths...which I thought at the time was THEIR booth for the daytime scene...but as it turns out, was not, but shows a part of it to the side where Roxy & Georgia would have sat.
I walked around mostly empty restaraunt after my meal looking for where the night scene was shot...as it turns out, I wasnt even close. Like the daytime shoot, I missed the night time shoot table by 1 table. I will likely go back when I am feeling better & get shots of the proper locations....but for now, the mystery thats befuddled an entire fanbase for years, where is "Der Waffle Haus" has been found.
I welcome you to the diner "Tom & Jerry's" at the corner of Hastings St & Kaslo St in Vancouver... just 1 block west of the entrance for the PNE.
I used to eat here a fair bit when the prices were cheap. For quite awhile, its had the same name...certainly been T&Js since before DLM shot there. Its changed gimmicks several times over the years, not that long ago, it was an "everything on the menu under $10" place, and for its price...was adequate. Then, they started pushing the prices up. Now the menu has gone up anywhere from 20-70% on some items, but the quality hasnt matched the raise in price.
For nostalgia. Sure, go there just to say you have been. The staff is friendly enough. The food just isnt up to the average price of $15 that it now has. Sadly, they dont have a banana bonanza on the menu....maybe if enough people go in & order it, it will exist.
I spent a LOT of hours digging this info up over the years. Its sad that it actually was a place I have frequeneted probably 50+ times over the years since then. I used to do occasional google searches to see if someone else had a clue, and no one ever got it...yet everyone asked about it. It was my own personal birthday gift to myself....and hopefully, some of you die hard fans will enjoy it too.
One of the perks of what I do is, when someone comes to town from something I really like, I have a better than average chance of meeting them. Those odds are multiplied when you have an inside line on how to contact them.
Recently this was the case when DEAD LIKE ME's Mason & current SMALLVILLE baddie Callum Blue came to town to reprise his role of Zod.
As a huge DLM fan, I am always a bit giddy when the prospect of seeing a former castmate from the show arises. I've now met Callum on 4 (or is it 5?) different occasions, including while grocery shopping once, and hes always been relaxed, cool & easy to chat with, and this time was no different.
Callum chatted with my friend & I about a literal plethora of categories, from the death of DLM, to the weather, to not drinking, to his sudden curiousity to check out the cheerleader driven Tom Welling produced drama Hellcats. Basically, the man was a fountain of chatter.
When I asked him if he had any other projects on the go, he mentioned his next project he will work on after finishing with Smallville will be over in England called "Happy Musical" (directed by Andrew Le Pera) which will be an independent film.
He also has two upcoming projects.
"Colombiana" (in theatres this September) directed by Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) which stars Zoe Saldana as an assassin out for revenge after seeing her parents killed as a kid.
"Super Tanker" (made for TV movie for Syfy) with a still unknown release date that I couldnt find much more info on at this time.
Oddly, the 1 thing I didnt really ask him about, was his role in Smallville. In my original contact with him to find out when he was coming, he told me he was coming for episode 20. However, he also came in a couple days later than originally planned and left a bit later than originally planned... so who knows if that is in fact which episode he was here for. Mathematically, it about adds up... but as Smallville fans already know, they have filmed other peoples roles out of order to conform to the entertainers schedules, so perhaps he is in the finale as well? Guess you all will just have to watch to find out. In the meantime, heres a few pics from him while he was here.
After fighting off the general of all colds lately, I finally put in some quality time hounding yesterday & had reasonably decent results.
After a quick stop off to get a few Canucks in the late morning/early afternoon, it was off to go for Eclipse.
First stop was to get a few BooBoo Stewart autographs at the former ground zero of the Eclipse cast. Since the mass exodus of the cast earlier this month from there, its been relatively a ghost town. However, it seems cast members who are here for breif stints still go there...this included Booboo. When I showed up he was sitting outside, hanging with 2 people, sipping away on a Subway drink while his friends were eating. Eventually they got up to leave & my friends & I grabbed a few autographs & a I took a few pics. Hewas incredibly pleasant & seemed thrilled with the attention.
After that I headed to the still practically unknown destination of the current Eclipse cast. Although still in the downtown core, we opted to drive over there. Things seemed dead for awhile, then eventually there were small signs of life.
First person sighted was Chaske Spencer. My friend hurried over to get him before he went in the door. I showed up a few seconds later & snapped a few pics of him before he headed inside. He told us about the long nights of shooting where they werent getting back till 7 AM. He said he was going upstairs to catch a nap...cant blame him. It was clearly a short nap though, as I would see him more later.
At the same time we saw Chaske, another celebrity was spotted going to a store nearby. Current Smallville villian & best known as Mason on Dead Like Me, Callum Blue was out doing a bit of shopping. I was going to snap a few pics of him as he left, but he came out & spotted me & started up a conversation....so I would have felt like a real dick taking shots then. We chatted for a minute as he walked back to his residence, not far from where the Twilighters now reside.
Sometime after that, and before the next encounter I saw a handful of the 100 Monkeys leave for their show they had last night at Neptoon Records.
There was a bit of a lull after that. We would eventually see Chaske again going out with a friend. A little while after that from a distance one of the hounds noticed Xavier Samuel & 2 girls leaving in the opposite direction. We hurried after them, eventually catching up to him just before he was about to go & see a film. He stopped & signed a few autographs, and posted for a couple pics before heading inside.
Upon returning there was an excitement that things were picking up. As it turned out, it was not really the case. A bit of a lull happened again, but when it was finally broken it was hectic.
Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon & Bronson Pelletier came out together & headed towards the club area. I stopped Bronson first, then Kiowa. Both who seemed fine with being stopped. Alex kept going forward. I caught up to him & asked him to sign as well, he gave me a less than impressed look & signed 1 with what seemed like a pained look on his face. I had heard he was not too receptive to autographs, clearly they were right. I then pushed my luck & asked if the 3 of them would mind posing for a pick. I got an enthusiastic reply from 2 of them & they posed long enough for me to get 1 good pics. I'll give you 3 guesses who wasnt the overly enthused one. After that they went on their way & I returned to wait for more.
Shortly after that, Chaske was on his way back...again. I got him to sign a couple photos & he went inside.
As the evening wore on, I was getting itchy to go & check out the 100 Monkeys show. So I finally decided to take off & go to the venue. On my way to the bus to take me there I developed a mild leg cramp & decided I was going to stop off at home first, which was a slight detour from my route, but still close enough I could get to the venue in 20 mins if anything happened. As it turned out, that was actually the end of my day. I laid down to wait for the cramp to subside, but it never did & eventually I just fell asleep.....but all in all, a fairly decent day, so no regrets on bailing early.
Last but not least yesterday, was the return of a notable chunk of this seasons Smallville cast.
Yesterday wasnt my first time meeting Callum. I had met him multiple times in Toronto at the Film Fest a couple years ago for his film "Young People Fucking". So I had some idea what to expect from him. He didnt disappoint.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.