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.
RIGHT CLICK ON VIDEOS TO FIND OPTION FOR FULL SCREEN (which is more centred than the ssmall little screen in the blog is)
Here are a couple videos from the set of Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol that was filmed outdoors on the streets of Vancouver Friday night. The scene involces Ethan Hunt ( Tom Cruise) running thru the streets of Bangalore, India, which the Vancouver street had been turned into.
Above is him starting his run on the street above, as he runs down a staircase (that you cant see because of the angle)
Below is him continuing the run on the street below, this is the continuation of his run from the part above.
Till this week I was really on the fence about Tom Cruise.
As an actor, I quite like his work.
From his off film work though, I have wondered about him.
The often mocked & criticized Scientologist action star is in town right now to film "Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol" and last night they had a public shoot.
I will go into more details about the shoot in my next blog when I post some video. But this blog is about Tom the person, Tom the P.R. machine.
Last night Tom did everything short of handing out money to win over fans. With Vancouverites having to have endured some pretty rude celebs in the not so distant past like Reese Witherspoon, the charismatic Cruise was a pleasure for celeb watchers in town.
On at least 2 different occasions Tom came over near the crowd, spoke to them (from a distance) & posed long enough for people to snap off a few pics.
When he left on his lunch break he again waved to the fans, let everyone get a couple more pics & waved to everyone lining the street that he drove off from.
it wasnt though till midnight that Tom hit a homerun with the fans, most of whom were already just happy with what they had up to that point.
On a break between scenes, Tom went from being Ethan Hunt, to being Tom Cruise & headed directly over to the crowd of a couple dozen onlookers that were still around. With two security guards (who were NOT very friendly) & a variety of crew in tow, Tom came over & interacted with the crowd. Taking photos with fans, talking to them, shaking hands & signing a few autographs.
As the crowd swelled (extras came over to join in the interaction as well) to around 100 people, Cruise didnt slow down. Each interaction seemed sincere, seemed appreciated by not just the fans, but Cruise himself. He often asked fans if the photos they took were ok & if they werent, he would pose for a 2nd, and a 3rd and he gave them suggestions on how to make the photo better if it still wasnt turning out. Who does that????
The only negative thing anyone had to say about the entire event was 2 things. 1- that his bodyguards were unprofessional in grabbing items from people (myself included) & thrwing them on the ground. Perhaps in their delusional brains they think they are above the law, that is actually a criminal offense, I suggest they think long & hard about trying to do it again. next time I wont be so naive as to let you take it (I actually though, like many other handlers have done before, he was taking it to get signed by Tom), because I will actually make an issue out of it. 2- The extremely aggressive fans. I often point out how its fans that are the problem, the pros are often the easier group to manage because we know how to act. This was example #1 of that. They were VERY pushy, often the entire pile of people would sway back & forth as people jostled for the space out there. Whats worse, 90% of them were literally there just to take a photo of him. They werent trying for a photo with, or an autograph, just a photo...something that coulda been done from 5 ft further back. In all my travels, I have NEVER seen such an aggressive display from fans & onlookers. It was truly disgusting.
Anyways, hes a few pics....video will come later of the scenes when I have more time. In short, Tom Cruise won over MANY fans last night...myself included.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.