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, there are celebs who are simply better & who are 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 4 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 2011 Toronto International Film Festival Best & worst list.
1- Justin Long - Not only did he talk to anyone who wanted, he signed, took photos with, talked to fans friends on the phone, and did the entire line of his red carpet. While his co-star used the excuse of having to get into his premiere but would be right back out, Long also said the same thing... but he actually DID come out.
2- George Clooney - Two premieres, both of them he signed down the entire row at the red carpet. Its absurd to think I know, but yes, he is that nice.
3- Chris Pratt - Such a nice guy. Won over many fans on his arrival, his presser and red carpet for Moneyball by being so friendly & patient.
4- Ezra Miller - Flashy wardrobe aside, this guy is super class & very chilled guy. Came out of his press conference & gave a fan some chocolate he was given inside, chatted for a couple minutes & when he heard a punk rock legend was inside the hotel nodded in approval & said "now thats someone I wanna party with".
5- Chloe Moretz - Although not everyone got her going into her premiere because of the terrible set up they had there, she tried her best to get as many as she could, and did the same leaving.
6- Megan Fox - She did a great job on the carpet again. She might not have spent quite as much time as last year, and her autographs were far less spectacular this time around, but she still won over a lot of fans with her red carpet actions.
7- Anna Faris - She was as cool and friendly as I hoped she would be. Just disappointed I didnt have anything for her to sign when I saw her arrive.
8- Nicolas Cage - Even in pouring rain, Nic stopped, signed autographs & did photos with people while leaving dinner. At his press conference he was just as good.
9- Paddy Considine - I had no clue who he was, but helped another hound get him. As it turned out...he probably didnt need my help, as Paddy stood there and willingly signed everything he had.
10- Willem Dafoe - Despite me coming up behind him and taking him by surprise, he stopped and willingly signed everything I had.
11- Geoffrey Rush - With the exception of seeing him going to a premiere that he was late getting to, Mr. Rush was terrific in all the other interactions I had with him during TIFF
12- Ryan Gosling - Although I got as many autographs from him as George Clooney on the same red carpet, George was just better at it. Ryan certainly won over a lot of fans though.
13- Alexander Skarsgard - Despite the rabid furvor for this TV star, the man handled it all quite well and more importantly, was a willing signer, and patient.
14- Dominic Monaghan - A small crowd of people noticed him at his press conference going in. He stopped, waited even for the 1 girl who had stuff for him to find it, then signed it all. Very pleasant.
15- Sarah Bolger - Her entire cast might have been 1 of the best signing casts there, but for me, this Irish beauty was the best of the bunch.
Honorable mention - Kim Coates, Asia Argento, Sarah Gadon, Selma Blair, Madonna, Hugh Dancy
1- Woody Harrelson. - even Woodys mom isnt shocked to hear he was again a class A douchebag. No autographs, limited to 0 interaction in general.
2- Gael Garcia Bernal - For someone with only ONE big movie in his career, he thinks a lot of himself. I saw him sign ONE autograph for a crowd of 10 or so.
3- Chace Crawford - He should see a doctor about his irrational phobia of sharpies. Signed MAYBE 8 autographs at his premiere. For someone that anyone over the age of 18 cant ID, thats pathetic.
4- Hugh Laurie - Every TIFF someone disappoints me. This yr, Dr. House. I heard reports he didnt even acknowledge the crowd at his premiere going in, on the way out, I saw what the meant. A half assed head up & wave to the crowd leaving was all he greeted people at his premiere with.
5- Ashley Greene - Is it any shock to anyone that this self portraiting nude model turned wannabe celeb mattress & part time actress got booed at a party by the fans? Afterall she snubbed them all there, and had minimal interaction at her premiere too.
6- Mia Wasikowska - When she showed up for TIFF, 1/2 the people didnt even care about her, but she acted like she was Madonna or Brangelina. I heard reports at her premiere that she was even WORSE than when she arrived.
7- Rebecca Hall - Signed about 10 autographs at a premiere that had MAYBE 150 people at it. Clearly she has no interest in trying to win over fans for her movies.
8- Kyle McLachlan - Did I seriously see the guy best known for playing the captain on How I Met Your Mother sign 3 total autographs at his premiere??? Yes, sadly.
9- Jonah Hill - Although Mr. Hill was allegedly nice leaving town, he was a jerk entering it. He carried himself like someone who was coming off his 5th consecutive Oscar. More shocking was the absolute nobody friend that he came with who acted like HE was a star and was speaking for Jonah, lipping off fans for Jonah, and sticking his middle finger up in the back of pics with Jonah. If Jonah has a functioning brain, he will disassociate with this "friend" before his rep gets anymore battered.
10- Elizabeth Olsen - I realize it has to suck being the unknown sister of the worlds most famous former TV twins. But it doesnt give you a licence to be a bitch. Was not very receptive upon arriving in town, was poor at her premiere, and horrible upon leaving it.
11- Arielle Kebbel - I give her kudos for taking a few seconds to talk to a little girl. All those kudos are lost however when you learn she immediately snubbed the ONE person who was waiting for an autograph right there as well.
12- Pearl Jam - Entire band signed ZERO autographs total between them. Outside of a vague hand wave from Eddie Vedder, they didnt really even give the fans anything.
13- Neil Young - Although he signed a lot leaving his event from what I heard, going in, the Canadian legend signed a grand total of ONE autograph.
14- Channing Tatum - Although I heard he did sign a few early on upon arrival, I saw Channing sign exaclty ONE item that wasnt a magazine or piece of paper. Perhaps he did sign some more earlier on & assumed he got everyone? I dont know, all I do know is, in the several minutes I saw him, he dodged requests to sign normal items. His excuse of "I have to get in to my premiere..I'll be back out" cements his spot on my list when you see my #1 best.
15- Rachel Weisz - she turned down a request to sign for 3 whole people the 1 time I saw her. She did say "when I come out" unfortunately, no one was there for her when she came out to see if she followed thru on her statement.
Dishonorable mention - Glenn Close, Alexis Bledel, Ewan McGregor, Alicia Silverstone, Kim Cattrall,
Top 5 moments
1- Got Madonna. I never sit & wait on red carpets. Its not value efficient. But for a glimmer of a chance to get 1 of the top 10 names on the planet, yes, I put in 4.5 hrs sitting around in 1 spot waiting. It paid off. The material girl gave me 1 of the 75-100 autographs she doled out at her premiere. My position even helped nab an Abbie Cornish autograph as well to top it off.
2- Getting 4 George Clooneys & 4 Ryan Goslings at Ides Of March premiere. A red carpet that most of the pros called "impenetrable" and rightfully so with its massive crowd, I managed to sneak in and out of areas by simply thinking ahead of the crowd to get each star 4 times.
3- Getting 6 Chloe Moretz at Hick premiere. Last year Michael C. Hall was my top want of TIFF, this year, it was the girl who played Hit Girl. Like Hall, she did not disappoint.
4- Seeing myself everywhere on advertisements. TIFF had a variety of promotional photos around town (and on my flight there in the in flight mag). One of them features me in the background. I saw it everywhere, magazines, posters, wrapped around a pilar, 25 ft tall wall mural outside the TIFF building...and even on elevator doors.
5- Meeting Ezra Miller and Chris Pratt. Neither of these guys had I ever heard of going into TIFF, but both made such great impressions on me, I am planning to go check out some of their works now. Pratts coolness overshadowed Jonah Hills prickness enough that I probably will still see Moneyball.
Bottom 5 moments
1- Didnt get Robert DeNiro again. Last yr at the press conference he signed to the left of me, and above me. This year, he did the EXACT same thing...except, this time on the red carpet.
2- Getting Saoirse Ronan.. in dying shitty useless silver pen...twice. Near the top of my want list, I should be happy....but the pen ruins the items. Instead of keeping 1 & selling 1, I now have two that I'm selling.
3- Going for Neil Young...instead of waiting around at Killer Elite premiere, where Jason Statham came back out. Neil stiffed the crowd, Statham, someone high on my want list, came back out after his red carpet interviews & signed for everyone.
4- Not going for U2. Bono & The Edge racked out, and I was talked out of it with the misguided logic that the crowd was going to be too big.
5- Not having stuff for the likes of Piper Perabo, Anna Faris or Chris Gorham when I saw them.
Below is a bunch of pics of some of the actresses that attended TIFF 2011.
Below are pics of some of those in attendance.
Melanie Griffith (with Antonio Banderas), Melanie & Antonio again, Juliette Binoche, Selma Blair, Alexis Bledel, Sarah Bolger, Kim Cattrall, Jessica Chastain, Lily Cole, Abbie Cornish, Abbie Cornish again, Anna Faris with Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Megan Fox, Megan Fox again, Satrah Gadon, Rebecca Hall, Arielle Kebbel, Arielle Kebell again, Stacy Keibler, Madonna, Chloe Moretz, cast of The Moth Diaries, Allison Pill, Saoirse Ronan, Yvonne Strahovski, Mia Wasikowska, Shailene Woodley
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.