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.
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 of Robert De Niro, Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman, Harvey Keitel and a few others by mere inches because of random dumb luck.
If day 3 was a lesson in frustration, Day 4 was a lesson in failing.
I am still put out by how bad day 4 was even now. With the exception of Woody Allen, who claimed he had a flight to catch (may or may not be true...but at least he came up with an excuse) the list of classless icons that left the Elgin theatre on day 4 was long.
First was Allen who said he had a flight to catch, and thusly couldnt stop to interact with fans....at least he stopped to tell us that much. Its more than anyone else would offer.
His films stars Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin and Freida Pinto snuck out a different door all together, screwing over the 2 or 3 dozen people who had waited at the door Mr. Allen left from. Worse yet, the people who showed up last, that were not squished in a condensed area had the chance to run the 75 ft down the road to the door to see them leave at least...which brings up the question...WHY? Why bother sneaking out a door so close?? You didnt fool anyone. All you did was punish those who were there longest, and reward those who got there last. I could understand if the door was on a different street or something and there was a legitimate effort to fool us...but it wasnt. All it was was a dick move. Whether the Elgin theatre is responsible for the dick move, or the actors is not really known....what is known is, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin and Freida Pinto came across as douchebags to the people waiting at the other door who didnt have the chance to rush down to the other door.
Between movies, Golden Globe winning actress Sally Hawkins came out from the premiere for her movie Made In Dagenham and signed a few autographs. I managed to get 1. Which sadly, was actually a challenge, as she had stopped signing and was already in her vehicle and saw my photo (the only photo out there of her) and came back from her car to sign. I was literally a car door closing away from not getting her.....and scary enough, that would have meant a shut out if it had happened. Sally Hawkins would turn out to be my only autograph of this day.
The Clint Eastwood & Matt Damon film would be next.
Matt Damon has been allegedly the best signer in Hollywood for awhile according to most. I certainly have a far different impression of the fairly chubby greased back hair puppet who clearly cant think for himself & only does what $8 an hr peons tell him to do. All Damon offered the fans waiting was a shoulder shrug & ONE autograph, which he looked pained to be doing as he got into his vehicle and hurried away...not to something important either. He left all the fans waiting, to go to a fucking after party. Mr. Damon had no legitimate excuse for ditching the fans. This is NOT the actions of someone thats allegedly "classy". I know I will get dozens of people claiming otherwise, and perhaps at one time, you were right....but fact is, Matt Damon is NOW a douchebag.
This brings me to the other douchebag from that film. Clint Eastwood. Clint came out, gave a half hearted wave to the crowd & left. No autographs, no words, nothing. Just like Damon, his eagerness to get away was to get to a party. He left fans hanging, at a movie he is there promoting, to go to a party??? Really classless. Did he honestly think the cokeheads who over value their importance in the world & the whores they had on their shoulder to impress the other unimportant cokeheads that were paying exorbitant money to schmooze with him at the party were going to leave if he didnt get there 10 minutes sooner? The answer Clint is NO. These fucktards will wait....like we, the fans & autograph collectors did. They will absolfuckinglutely wait. But unlike the 6-8 hrs people waited for you in a crowded bullpen type set up where you could not turn around if you had to, these jackoffs were roaming around a nice room/hall somewhere pretending to care about you, when all they were there to do was be seen. Way to get your priorities straight Clint. You fucking failed.
I have heard lots of backlash from autograph hounds telling me I was too hard on Damon & Eastwood even before this blog.
To them I say... You are out to fucking lunch if you think what they did was acceptable. Some of them claim it was the goading of a Warner Brothers rep that made them not stop. Last time I looked, Matt Damon & Clint Eastwood shouldnt be taking demands from some $8 hr peon from a movie company. If they WANTED to sign, they simply would have told the anti-PR guy to go fuck themselvres while they take care of promoting the movie to potential ticket buying customers.
Instead, Clint Eastwood & Matt Damon told almost 100 people "fuck you & dont watch this movie" with their classless actions.
A+ Sally Hawkins
E Woody Allen
F+ Matt Damon
F Clint Eastwood
F Josh Brolin
F Freida Pinto
F Anthony Hopkins
My total for autographs that day - ONE
Toronto International Film Festival opens in a few days & I will be there trying to get some of the biggest names in film and television.
But who am I most excited about seeing? Well, its not always the iconic names of the big screen that gain my attention. Sure, there are some, but often its the middle or smaller stars that are there that I get thrilled about seeing.
Last film fest I was more thrilled about seeing Leelee Sobieski, Hayley Atwell and Simon Pegg than I was the likes of Brad Pitt, Sean Penn or Angelina Jolie. This year will be no different...so I give you my hopeful top 20 list in a "more or less" order
1- Michael C. Hall- My favorite serial killer, Dexter Morgan.
2- Natalie Portman- Queen Amidala... Plus I liked her in Mars Attacks.
3- Clint Eastwood- 4 Oscars. Does that explain it to you?
4- Julian Richings- Hes DEATH on Supernatural! I mean I have to try & get Deaths autograph...right?
5- Zach Galifianakis- The star of The Hangover.
6- Aaron Eckhart- Two-Face.
7- Bill Gates- I'm going to ask him to give me 0.000001% of his net worth. If he does. KA-CHING!
8- Rainn Wilson- because beet farmers are cool.
9- Milla Jovovich- A huge fan of The Fifth Element. Plus I have some great shots of her from more recent films.
10- Mickey Rourke- Wasnt really a fan of his, till The Wrestler.
11- Robert De Niro- If the mere mention of his name doesnt excite you a little, you may be dead.
12- Matt Damon- Loved the Bourne Trilogy & the Oceans trilogy.
13- Geoffrey Rush- Barbosa in the POTC series.
14- Sarah Silverman- Shes not always funny, but when she is, shes one of the best.
15- Michael Moore- Met him before, but it was so breif. Hope to get again.
16- James Caan- if you are in The Godfather, you should be on any list.
17- Edward Norton- hes Smoochy. who doesnt want to get the big purple rhino?
18- Malin Akerman- Obviously the hottie from The Watchmen would be on here
19- April Telek- She was on 1 of my favorite TV shows, Robson Arms. I need her for a couple cast items.
20- Bill Murray- hes a notoriously bad signer..but hes in like 5 of my top 30 favorite films...so I have to try.
Honourable mentions to - Emma Roberts, Emma Stone, John Brolin, Liv Tyler, Maria Bello, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Redford.
Last film fest I only came away with about 6 or 7 of my top 20...but I was doing it with no knowledge of where to be & when, and no gameplan. Now I have a bit of both. My hopes are to at least get 1/2 of the top 20.
Yes, its true. For the first time since 2007 I will be going to TIFF to get autographs & see many of the biggest names in the industry.
Last TIFF I attended was attended by the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Sean Penn, Lauren Bacall, Keira Knightley, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Jodie Foster, Gael Garcia Bernal, Michael Moore, Samuel L Jackson, Viggo Mortensen and many others. It was also highlighted by new fresh faces like Jim Sturgess, Ellen Page, Hayley Atwell and many others.
This year, the list is just as impressive. Icons like Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford are set amongst the 100s of names the fest put out for its guest list. The likes of Matt Damon, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Allen, Robert DeNiro, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Edward Norton, Ellen Page, Michael C Hall, Bill Gates, Megan Fox, Mickey Rourke, Steve Nash and hundreds of others are expected to go. Who will be this years fresh new faces to catch? Thats a different question that only time will tell.
Look for my updates on here, and of course, autographs will hopefully be plenty.
if you have any requests...Now is the time to make them. I leave in less than a week.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.