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.
Below are some pics of the men who attended TIFF 2011.
Pics below of Shawn Ashmore, Antonio Banderas with Melanie griffith, Jay Baruchel, Nicolas Cage, George Clooney (bad pic), Kim Coates, Paddy Considine, Chris Cornell, Hugh Dancy, James Gandolfini, Ryan Gosling, Marc-Andre Grondin, Justin Long, Diego Luna, Ezra Miller, Dominic Monaghan, cast of The Moth Diaries (Scott Speedman), Chris Pratt with Anna Faris, Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Rotten, Salman Rushdie, Joel Schumacher, Adam Scott, Seann William Scott, Keifer Sutherland, Channing Tatum, Johnny To and Nat Wolff.
Day 5 had very little actual hounding for me...that being said, the results I got were pretty spectacular.
The day started later than any of the others, I arrived in Toronto early afternoon and immediately went to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and got an autograph from author Salman Rushdie.
After that I had a short lunch then went to prep for the next event, the big event. With all the epic names that came for TIFF, there likely was not a single 1 larger than the headliner for this evenings gala event of W.E.
Pop icon Madonna was going to be there to promote the film she directed. To have a shot at the Material Girl, I had to do something I rarely did....go sit on the carpet for hours. I spent 4 1/2 hrs infact, placed close to where I hoped her vehicle would stop to let her out. Some people had spent 10+ hrs waiting, so in comparison, my 4.5 hrs was actually, not bad.
As 6PM rolled by the first of the cast showed up, soon after, Abbie Cornish arrived. I instantly called for her as she was let out right in front of me, and she came immediately to me and started signing. She borrowed my pen for 2-3 minutes, signing for others, then brought my pen back to me and moved on to the press row.
It was not long after that a nice black car came rolling up the pathway. It stopped right infront of me. Immediately behind it was a black SUV full of security. The security detail got out 1st, then out came the talent. Madonna poppped out and instantly acknowledged the fans and media, then made her way over to sign...unfortunately, she walked 50 ft down the carpet to start. I had picked the perfect spot, but the pop diva opted to walk away from where she got dropped off and start further down the row. I had to just stand there and hope & wait that she was coming as far as I was positioned.
Eventually, about 3-4 minutes went by she was getting within range of where I was standing. Madonna would sign a handful, then move on 10-20 ft, then do the same, then move on...so it was a 50-50 chance she might stop in the area right near where I was positioned. As she got closer, she skipped the area immediately to my right. As she approached, she started right where I was positioned, signed my item first and moved on from there. I tried getting a photo of the signed item with her in the same frame, but funny enough I actually blocked out Madonna with the item as I tried to shoot a shot with the crowd clamouring for a look and pushing. Just like that, she was gone, off to sign for others further down the carpet.
After that, I immediately went across the street to attempt Neil Young. The Canadian music icon was not as accomodating as the pop icon was. Young signed 1 autograph outside then hurried in. We passed Geoffrey Rush on the street as he was heading to the Neil Young movie.
From there we went to another premiere featuring Channing Tatum and others. Tatum was quite terrible at signing on the carpet, often ignoring anything that seemed remotely collectible. While he did sign SOME, it was few and far between. His GF Jenna Dewan was a bit better, and his co-star Justin long was phenomenal, coming back out after the film started to greet and sign for all the fans. Worst part was getting the tip that Neil Young signed for fans leaving his premiere while we were wasting our time on mediocre talents like Channing Tatum. But, thats what TIFF is about, making choices...and sometimes, you will make the wrong one.
From there, went for Madona again. She was leaving dinner at an upscale restaurant near the venue, and she signed again, this time maybe 10-20 autographs, my position was not great, so I missed out on her this time.
A+ Justin Long
B Salman Rushdie
B Abbie Cornish
B- Jenna Dewan
C- Channing Tatum
D+ Neil Young
TOTAL autographs 3
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.