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.
The 3rd day of the film fest turned out to be my statistical best of this year.
It started with seeing Chris Cornell in the early afternoon, but at that time I didnt have anything for the music star.
Shortly after I went across the street to the Killer Elite premiere. I managed a Clive Owen autograph, but was unable to get to Jason Statham who unfortunately signed very few and all in 1 2-4 foot spot along the 200+ foot carpet. Robert deNiro was also there, and in a horrible cruel joke, I had the same thing happen to me on the red carpet that happened last year at the press conference. he signed beside me, above me and moved on.
I quickly hurried across the street to try and get Pearl Jam going into their fil premiere, but the entire band showed no class by not just ingoring autograph requests, but not even stopping on the short red carpet for photo ops. Of all the musicians in Toronto for TIFF, they were least classy bunch of them all.
Chris Cornell showed up to the PJ premiere, and signed willingly for the small crowd that wasprepared for him. I managed 1.
Next up was the premiere of the hockey movie "Goon".
First to arrive was Sons Of Anarchy star Kim Coates who I had nothing for, then shjortly after the priamry stars Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill and Seann William Scott arrived. I had nothing for Pill unfortunately (never got a chance to make my 3rd batch of photos I intended to print), so the only autographs I got there was 4 Jay Baruchels which were frankly harder than they should have been to get thanks to the inconsiderate morons that populated the Ryerson red carpets this year. Let me get sidretracked here fotr a second to say this....hey dickheads... you are already in the 1st 2 rows, you dont need a fucking chair or a ladder to get a better view you fucking witless fuckwits. I hope next year someone falls of 1 of them and hurts someone. I sincerely do. then perhaps TIFF will ban chairs from the events. using them when you are in row 5, I can sort of udnerstand, but there is no need for them in row 2....even Peter Dinklage wouldnt need them that close up.
Shortly after that I hurried over to my primary target of film fest, the "Hick" premiere with Kick Ass star Chloe Moretz. I managed 3 autographs from Chloe going in, and 1 from juliette Lewis. Considering the set up they had at her theagtre I was pleased with that outcome.
I hustled back over to the previously mentioned retard infested Ryerson theatre for the premiere of Melancholia with Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgard. Like the previous premiere, it was far far far harder to get autographs than it should of been, thanks to the fucking morons who should be smacked over the head with their charis and ladders till they are unconscious.... of course, then someone would just use their lifeless bodies to stand on to get the extra 3 inches of height that they dont actually need. With retards dominating the theatre, I still managed 5 Skarsgards and a Dunst.
I went back for the departing of Chloe Moretz and managed 3 more autographs from Hit Girl.
It was then baaaaack over to Ryerson for the last few minutes of Ryan Gosling arriving for Drive. I managed 1 smudged autograph from him going in. That was the end of my night.
A+ Chloe Moretz
A Alexander Skarsgard
B+ Kim Coates
B+ Clive Owen
B Seann William Scott
B- Chris Cornell
B- Robert DeNiro
B- Jay Baruchel
B- Juliette Lewis
C+ Kirsten Dunst
C+ Alison Pill
C- Jason Statham
F Pearl Jam
TOTAL for the day 20 autographs
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.