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.
Sunday March 19th, 2011 goes down as 1 of great accomplishment and great disappointment to the legion of fans, crew & cast of The CW hit show Smallville. This was most certainly the day many of the crew & cast would see each other for the last times during the shows amazing 10 year run. They may go on to cross paths over the years on new projects, they may possibly never cross paths with some of these people again. But on this night, a whos who of the people who made Metropolis come alive on the TV screens had 1 last hurrah together, it was the final Smallville wrap party at the 98 year old Vancouver Club.
While the hordes of crew & friends entailed the majority of the guests, there were certainly some cast, old & new there as well. The event did not start till 8 PM, and it was not too long after that the first guest of note arrived.
With the party not starting till later evening, it should be no shock the first cast member to arrive was Connor Stanhope, the 13 yr old who portrays a young Lex Luthor arrived with his mother. He signed autographs for the people who asked, took photos with and went into the party. As someone thats seen a few child actors in the past few years with some very overly protective parents, it was actually a relief to see his mother not just seem excited about all of it, but made the effort to get out of the way when the photographers there wanted a couple photos of young Connor arriving.
The next to arrive was the man who played 1/2 of 1 of TVs most iconic brother pairs off the hit 80s show The Dukes Of Hazzard. John Schneider, the man who plays Jonathan Kent was next to arrive. I had seen Mr. Schneider earlier in the day, and just like he was then, the man was a class act. He signed for everyone, took photos, chatted a bit, then strolled into the party.... he would turn out to be 1 of the shortest staying guests.
Alessandro Giuliani was next to arrive. However, the man who plays Dr. Emil Hamilton in the latter seasons was noticed too late for the crowd to really react, and he managed to get in without being asked by 1 single person for anything.
Next up was the man, the myth, the legend, The Blur. Literally, the blur zipped by. Tom Welling arrived with 2 or 3 friends (didnt note who was with him, but since I know your going to be asking, I do not believe his wife was 1 of them.). Clark Kent arrived wearing a suit...with a hoodie over top & a cap pulled down and probably took like 6 steps from the cab door to the top of the stairs in his mad dash to avoid interaction. One fan moved in a few feet towards him at the staircase & Tom didnt even slow down, just simply did a 1/2 step away from her to suggest "yeah, dont bother" & was shortly there after, inside.
While Welling was arriving at the party, Schneider was leaving. He claimed it was because of the loud music... I think he just didnt want to be in the same room as Welling (thats NOT a real assumption by the way... just me being a smart ass.).
Keri Lynn Pratt, the actress that portrays Cat Grant was next to arrive & signed for those who asked.
Next up was Cassidy Freeman, aka- Tess Mercer. Like Welling, she avoided coming over to the crowd of 17 people. Unlike Welling, she at least acknowledged the crowd by waving at them & smiling before heading in.
Erica Durance & her husband, former Stargate actor David Palffy arrived. While Durance signed for the crowd, I had a chat with Mr. Palffy over some things I have said in the past about him that had been misconstrued by someone close to the couple to sound far worse than they were intended. After talking with him I can certainly say he was a very rational, civil & personable man. Not everyone would give someone a chance to explain themselves, but he did. He even told me he would talk to Erica inside about signing for me on departing the party as she opted not to sign for me, clearly showing me thru her actions that yes, she was dissatisfied with what she had heard/read about/from me in the past. Any issues you the fans have with David, I can assure you, are very likely over exaggerated or wrong. I'm not going to go into details of what was said, but he was quite open & blunt about several things. He was actually a far more personable man than what I interpreted him to be a year ago... and this is not me trying to kiss up to them. It does me no good now to "pretend". The show is over. I'm also not the type to try & make nice with people just for PR reasons as I am sure any regular readers of my site know. I call it just as I see it, plain & simple, and to me, Mr. Palffy was fair & reasonable.
While Durance was signing, 2 other Smallville stars also came in.
Justin Hartley, the man who is the Green Arrow & Oliver Queen strolled in and shockingly did not stop for the group. Over the past year I have seen him get a bit more limiting on autographs, but he was always good about stopping. Tonight however, even with several people calling to him only 15-20 ft away, he didnt make the effort to come over. Sorta shocking to me.
Kristin Kreuk, or as you know her Lana Lang from the earlier seasons arrived with them as well. With all the attention on Durance & Hartley she managed to sneak in with few people even noticing her. much of the talk lately has been about whether she will or wont be in an episode. My feeling on it, I think she is. My friends & I caught her coming back to town recently in mid-week while she was working on another project in LA for a 2 day stint here. Sorta random to come in mid-week for only 2 days. Then on top of it, she comes to the wrap party? She is the only person who arrived that isnt part of this seasons shows if she isnt actually in it..... so read into it what you want. I already have. Perhaps I am wrong, guess in a few weeks I will know eh?
Not long after that, some of the crowd dispersed, and a slightly more manageable 10 or so people waited it out.
Jessica Parker Kennedy was next to leave. The girl who plays Plastique was very nice & signed for me as she waited to get into a cab. She is currently in town working on a TV pilot "Secret Circle".
Next to depart was Cassidy Freeman. Even though this time she had to walk right past us, even so close she patted me on the arm as she was passing, she refused to sign. I've never seen her refuse before, and considering she came that close to where we were, I am even more shocked. She didnt really say why she couldnt, just that "I cant tonight, sorry". Not sure what her reason was, but I cant be too hard on her, shes been great with us several times prior. Just shocking still though.
Kristin Kreuk, Erica Durance & David would be next to leave. While Kreuk came over & signed for the crowd, David spoke to Erica & she came over to me & signed for me. I apologized to her for anything that she thought was said by me in the past, she said its water under the bridge in her mind & signed. I had to frantically scramble to find my items too as I was caught at a moment of attempting to re-organize my items when they came out, because of this, I ended up getting Kreuk on my cast logo photo, instead of a single photo of her as I had intended...still, happy to take it, as she is at times an unwilling participant in signing autographs. The trio left together from what I recall. Little did I know that was going to be the last autographs I would get that evening.
Last to be spotted leaving, at 1:20 AM... Connor Stanhope. Seriously. The youngest guest there (no one else was even CLOSE to under 19) was the last cast member spotted leaving. Not long after that, security was locking up the building & then we started to get a bit concerned about if Tom & Justin may have snuck out the back. We knew there was that chance all evening, but no one wanted to make the sacrifice of checking it out. When a waitress from the event came out waiting for her cab, I asked her in a way that made it assume that we knew people were left in there still how many were left, which she replied "sorry, but theres no one left in there but cleaners". In my line of work you hear lots of lies, so you always read between whats said, but she said it with such sincerity & seemed unaware why we would even be waiting that we believed her. That was the official end of the evening.
If Tom & Justin were still in there, they outsmarted the crowd outside, and the crew inside. Only notable people that werent there. Allison Mack & Annette O'Toole (the latter who left that morning). Was also a bit shocked Michael Shanks wouldnt come since he lives here. I am sure if Jensen Ackles had not left that morning, he too would have probably come. Only non-Smallville person I did see was Thomas Dekker, who is in town doing a CW pilot show.
So that is it Smallville fans. Your show, all the moments & memories it has brought you end this week...at least in the filming side of it. Tonight was probably bittersweet for many of the crew & cast as it is the end to a large piece of their recent lives. Luckily, you still have a few more episodes to soak in before Tom/Clark & flies (possibly) off into the sunset.
EDIT- For a few pics from the night, check out another locals blog here...
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.