Friday, November 10, 2006

Star Spots

Wandering around London Town of an afternoon, you are likely to see a few actors and celebrities, here and there, if you keep an eye out. They don’t live normal lives so in between rehearsals, and visiting their agents, and coffee with their mates, they can be spotted leisurely strolling through Soho and the West End.

Yesterday, I saw comedy actors Bill Bailey and Sally Phillips together, walking down Charing Cross Road. I should have said 'hello' really as I worked with Bill on the first series of Black Books but that was almost seven years ago now (carramba!), and I was the Production Assistant, he was the star, so I didn't want to corner him into an embarrassing but polite exchange of 'oh yes, how are you?' I should point out however that he is, without doubt, one of the lovliest men in comedy.

I noticed some guy from The Bill, Brian Somebody (Bovell, I think), but I actually got introduced to him as the person I was with knew the person Brian was with (another actor), if you follow. I know, exciting and glamorous, what can I say.

Then, Gail Porter checked me out* in Bar Chocolate on D’arblay Street, a popular choice for media meetings it seems. Nina Sosanya was in John Lewis on Oxford Street looking to buy perfume, or something. Nearly said ‘hello’ to her, as I like her (acting) quite a lot and she’d be good for a part in one of my scripts but seeing as I didn’t have any of my business cards on me (idiot), I didn’t say anything because I’d just come across as a leering fan.

I’m sure I saw Neil LaBute outside the Curzon Cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue. If he’s in town, then it definitely was him, otherwise it was a tramp sort of figure, sorry Neil. I was going to say “hello, I read your version of The Wicker Man and didn’t think it was shite” but seeing as I wasn’t 100% sure if it was him, or a loony who might knife me, I thought better of it.

An enjoyable day in London then, and a couple of meetings that were interesting and potentially very exciting. I won’t say anything about them just yet, for fear of jinxing them or them leading to nothing because, surprise, they’re reliant on other people’s approval so I just have to sit back and see what happens.

What's your best celebrity sighting and/or your most embarrassing moment with a celeb?

Back in 1992, I attended the Dublin Film Festival and a Q&A with Oliver Stone about JFK. I wanted to ask him a question but I was nervous. I eventually plucked up the courage to get the microphone and stand up. I cleared my throat, formulated the words I wanted to say and then said: "Bleeaareeeeghakdkdghgh", because my nerves took over. Everyone laughed. I had to repeat the 'question', which was lame anyway, and Oliver Stone said: "I'm sorry, what did he say?" To which I sat down again.

Fast forward to 1996 and the setting is Port Douglas, north of Cairns, Australia. I'm working as a cold larder chef (!) in the On the Inlet restaurant (part of my year out Down Under thing). Terrence Malick, George Clooney & co are in town to film The Thin Red Line. During my break at the restaurant, I do some fishing at the nearby jetty to kill the time. To my astonishment, I catch a fish! I reel it in, and get applauded by the diners who're enjoying their lunch on the balcony. Leading the applause is none other than Oliver Stone. Ah, fate, we have come full circle.

* Not really, but she was in Bar Chocolate.


Dominic Carver said...

Ah yes, the reliance on other people's approval thing. The stuff of many a writers' nightmares.

Hope they say 'YES', mate.

Anonymous said...

I saw Martin Sheen last night, although that was onscreen when I saw The Departed in the Odeon. Also I noticed the girl who works in Subway waiting in line at the newsagent (a Galaxy Ripple and Daily Mirror in hand) and caught sight of myself in the reflection of the Dentist Surgery window.

But that's Bristol for you - always something to see.

Anonymous said...

I saw Red Hurley when I was in Cork (MacCurtin St.) last week, pulling his wheelie case and his kids (well I assumed they were, could have been fans..)behind him.

Not quite the same though, is it?

I am getting used to the new layout by the way.

Good Dog said...

Found myself sitting beside Ken Trodd on a Bakerloo Line train a week or so back. Had to stop myself from bowing before him.

potdoll said...

once I sat on the next table to Kyle McLaughlin and Woody Harrelson. It was outside one of them little cafe's on Neal's Yard. I tried hard not to stare but hard to listen to their conv. I didn't hear anything interesting but I did notice that Woody had slipped his shoes off and had pedicured toenails painted shimmery turquoise. It gave me a little frisson seeing that.

Anonymous said...

Once I served Simon Le Bon at a grotty college bar. He asked for mineral water, I said we didn't have any but if I gave him a cup he could go and fill it up in the toilets.

He had an orange juice instead.

Tim Clague said...

I approached Lord Attenborough with the line 'Sorry to talk to you with being introduced but...'. He interupted me with the line 'My dear boy. We've no need for introductions. We are fellow film makers'. What a classy gent!

Good Dog said...

Some years back...


At the Channel 4 press screening of Shameless, started having a conversation with "Paul Abbott" about the sequel for The State of Play. Except it wasn't Abbott but one of the comedy's directors.


A month or so later, at the Channel 4 press screening of No Angels, had a drink at the bar with Tony Garnett and discussed the state of British TV drama.

Made up for trying to figure out where I had seen Kaye Wragg before by accidentally staring at her.

wcdixon said...

A lot of good ones - my Eugene Levy was more than a sighting and turned into a post...

I touched Paris Hilton's arm once at a Maverick (Madonna's company) Party in LA - that's kinda embarrassing. I also had the Duff sisters (Hilary and ?) ask me if I wanted them to sign something of mine at the same party - I musta looked like I was hankering for an autograph...rather, I was justg shaking my head at fact that these 'girls' were 'stars'.

As I walked up to the counter in a golf club to get some range balls, a tall familar looking Afro American man turned away from the counter in front of me and he looked so familar that I impulsively said: "Hey man, how's it going?" and he smiled and said: "Good man. You?" And I replied good before realizing it was Will Smith and I went all marblemouthed. So he just kept going.

Shaking hands with Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon in the Buffy offices - that was it, no conversation, so no biggie.

Having dinner in Santa Monica and getting introduced to an agent at the next table with two of his clients - Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.

Someone stop me. But there's got to be a real embarrassing one in there somewhere. I'll have to mull on that and come back.


Lucy V said...

I talked to a big hero of mine, the director of DUST DEVIL Richard Stanley at a party only last week. Which was nice.

Most embarrassing? Lots to choose from there, but this is prob the best - saw Sean Bean going down the escalator at Tottenham Court Rd a couple of years back, yelled "That's Sean Bean!" before I could stop myself and EVERYONE on my side (going up) turned and looked. Sorry Sean.

Lianne said...

I do love a good celeb spotting story. I have a few. Most recent was literally bumping into Mark Kermode on the stairs at work. His quiff is very impressive in real life. I've no idea why he was in the staff part of the building, but there you go. I've also stood next to Stephen Fry in the queue for bagels. Oh, and I went to an NFT screening of Meantime a while back, which was to be followed by a Q&A with Mike Leigh. When my friend and I got up after the screening but before the Q&A, we realised that Mike Leigh was actually sitting directly behind us. I'd had a terrible headache during the film and spent most of it not looking directly at the screen because it hurt too much. So I got very paranoid that he thought I might not have been paying attention to his film. I didn't say anything to him though. I never do. I'm too shy and I know I'll just sound like a blathering idiot at best, a crazed stalker at worst.

Lucy V said...

I always come across as a crazed stalker - especially as I have this annoying habit of saying "You're SO and So!" like an idiot - to which I have had some choice replies.

Still not as bad as a producer friend of mine who ran Gabriel Byrne over in Soho. Luckily she was only on a bike.

Danny-K said...

Surely there's someone out there who's had a pee next to someone famous and struck up gushing conversation. Come on - spill the beans!

Robin Kelly said...

"Shaking hands with Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon in the Buffy offices - that was it, no conversation, so no biggie"

Can I just say the 'no biggie' was adding serious salt to the wound. You got to touch them and breath the same air as them, of course that's a biggie! It's a big biggie!

Sal said...

At the Almeida a couple of years ago, went to see a friend, Alan Cox, in a play - afterwards, having a drink in the bar, doing introductions, this guy said "hi, I'm Alan's Dad" - Brian Cox. That was cool. Met lots of actors in theatre bars after plays, probably the best one is Kenneth Branagh, he's v nice and has astonishingly blue eyes.

Can't think of any really embarrassing ones at the moment