Posted by: James Rhodes | August 9, 2015

Leslie Knope Weekend!

Leslie Knope Weekend

I think I have made no secret of the fact that I absolutely love Parks & Recreation; it’s definitely my favourite American show, and I think one of the best things to be made in a long time. Over the past 18 months I’ve been lucky enough to meet Chris Pratt (Andy), Aziz Ansari (Tom), Rashida Jones (Ann), Megan Mullaly (Tammy), Natalie Morales (Lucy) and the show’s co-creator Greg Daniels. I even got to spend a day watching Chris, Aziz and Natalie filming whilst on holiday in Chicago – that’s a day I’ll never forget!

As awesome as all this is, I have always wanted to meet the show’s main star, the fantastic Amy Poehler aka Leslie Knope. However I’d resigned myself to the fact that the chances of her ever coming to London were slim to none; unlike Chris she’s not a Hollywood star, or a touring comedian like Aziz. So, imagine my absolute when it was announced (on my birthday no less!) that Amy would be coming to London to attend a gala screening of her new film Inside Out. I think I may have screamed a little. In fact, I think this tweet sums up my reaction on the day pretty well…

I’d always heard mixed stories about how Amy is to fans, but that didn’t stop me from being majorly excited about her coming to London. If I could just get my Parks complete series boxset signed I’d be happy. I knew of a couple of promotional things that she would be doing over the course of the weekend, but was hoping that there would be a few more things I’d hear about closer to the time. Indeed, there were. So after some bargaining with my work to get a couple of hours of Friday morning off, this is how my two days dedicated just to Leslie Knope weekend went.

On the Friday morning, Amy was due to be a guest on a BBC Radio programme promoting Inside Out. I’ve not been to the BBC for a weekday recording in about four years, so wasn’t really sure what to expect or what time guests usually arrived. So I decided to just be there half an hour before the show started. That was 6am. Yes, I left home before 5am to try and meet Amy, that’s how much this meant to me. I arrived, and of course was the only person there. Over the next hour a handful of other collectors arrived, mainly for the show’s other guest, Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour. Time passed, and at about 7:30 a security guy came out and set up a couple of barriers. Five minutes later two cars pulled up, and out got Amy. Her PA said she was in a rush to get inside, but Amy saw my boxset and came over to sign it, and even personalised it to me. Happy James!!!! She signed a handful more before going inside, but didn’t pose for any photos. I didn’t care though, I’d just met the main star of my favourite TV show and was over the moon!

I decided to hang about for her leaving. About 90 minutes passed before she came out. She signed some more autographs (a few more collectors had turned up). Amy still didn’t pose for any photos, but did sign my copy of Pawnee: the Greatest Town in America, making me even happier!

After that I had to get to work, but decided that I would regret leaving the weekend without making every chance to get a photo with Amy. So after work I headed to a London hotel where there had been a press conference for the film with Amy, director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera. I was hoping to meet Pete too. I arrived, and there were 4 or 5 people waiting. I knew Amy had another recording to get to, so was pretty confident she’d be leaving before too long. Sure enough after a 10 minute wait, she came out with a few PAs. She signed my Parks & Rec season one DVD sleeve, but still didn’t pose for photos. There was no sign of Pete or Jonas, so I called it quits after a while.

Saturday came, and I couldn’t decide whether to go to the BFI to try and meet Amy, Pete and Jonas after a Q&A there, or to go to their hotel and try my luck there. I decided to go to the hotel, and pleasantly found only two other people waiting. This seemed like the best chance to get a photo, and I was pretty sure if I didn’t here then I wouldn’t get one at all during the weekend. About 20 minutes passed, and Amy, Pete and Jonas all came out. I was going to go for Pete, but Amy had come out without the PA who kept saying no to posing for photos, so I went to her. I got my season two DVD of Parks signed, told her (again) how big a fan I am of all things Pawnee, and asked for a photo. She thanked me for being a fan and said she would have to be quick, but agreed to a photo! Happpppppyyyyy me!!!

I was seriously so happy!! Undoubtedly my favourite photo of the year! I decided to hang about to see if I could catch Pete on his way back. Amy was the first to return, I couldn’t resist getting another DVD sleeve signed, this time season six.

Five minutes later Pete and Jonas came back. Pete went straight into the hotel but said he’d be back out in a few minutes. Jonas was happy to stop, and signed an index card and posed for a photo with me.

Pete came back out as he promised, and was really chatty. He signed a couple, and I decided to be cheeky since there were only a handful of people waiting and ask if he would mind drawing me a quick sketch. Cue one of my favourite autographs – Mike from Monsters Inc drawn by the film’s director! So cool! He posed for a quick photo too.

So that was my Leslie Knope weekend. I still can’t believe I got five autographs and a photo with Amy! To sum up, this was me by the end of the weekend:

Posted by: James Rhodes | May 31, 2015

Spy: UK Premiere

Spy: UK Premiere

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Another day, another visit to Leicester Square! This time was for the UK premiere of the pretty awesome sounding Spy, starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham and Jude Law amongst others. The three main stars of the film were due to attend, alongside Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, Jessica Chaffin and director Paul Feig. I’d never met Melissa and have wanted to meet Allison for a while now, so I couldn’t resist going along.

It was quite a nice red carpet setup, with a pretty cool looking stage for interviews with the cast near the cinema entrance. I think this was the first premiere of 2015 that I had a really optimistic feeling about whilst waiting for arrivals, which was nice. We were a bit up the carpet from where people were being dropped off, so it was a bit hard to see the order in which people were arriving. First to come over to us was comedian and actress Jessica Chaffin, known for her Ronna and Beverly partnership with Jamie Denbo. She signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

Next to come over to us was director Paul Feig. Whilst Paul is best known for his films including Bridesmaids and The Heat, he’s also directed episodes of three of my favourite TV programmes; The Office, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, so I was pretty excited to meet him. I told him of my love for his Parks episode (Pawnee Zoo) which he seemed appreciative of, and he signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

Right behind Paul was Miranda Hart, best known for her hit TV comedy series Miranda and for her role in Call the Midwife. Miranda signed my boxset of her series, and posed for a photo too.

A short while passed before the next person came over, the person I probably most wanted to meet at the premiere, Allison Janney. Allison was really, really friendly, and spent ages signing and interacting with fans. She kindly signed both my The Help DVD sleeve (already signed by Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain) and Juno DVD sleeve (already signed by Michael Cera and Jason Reitman), as well as an index card. She posed for a photo with me too. Happy James!

The film’s main star Melissa McCarthy was next to come over. I wasn’t sure how the Gilmore Girls, Mike & Molly, Bridesmaids, The Heat and Tammy star would be, but she was absolutely lovely. Like, on another level lovely. Just as Allison had, Melissa spent ages signing and talking to fans, and was just really down to earth. She signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo with me too. This has to be one of the nicest autographs I have ever seen from a Hollywood star!

Jude Law soon followed. He was considerably later than the rest of the cast arriving and was considerably more rushed than the others had been, but still signed a fair few autographs for people. I managed to get a photo signed that I have had lying about for about eight years, as well as my Road to Perdition and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events DVD sleeves (the latter is already signed by Billy Connolly and Timothy Spall). Jude also posed for a quick photo, but sadly isn’t quite looking!

Miranda co-star Sarah Hadland arrived as a guest, and was happy to sign my Miranda boxset and to pose for a photo, which was a nice surprise.

The final person to come over was Jason Statham himself! Jason probably signed more than anyone else on the red carpet; he may not be the most talkative person, but I think he went to every single possible bit of barrier there was signing and posing for photographs. He signed a Hummingbird promotional picture for me, saying how much he enjoyed making that film, and posed for a photo too.

A perfect end to a great evening; everyone came over and it was, well, fun. That’s not something that I can always say about visits to Leicester Square!

Posted by: James Rhodes | May 24, 2015

Anna Kendrick!

Anna Kendrick

Something that I think is well known about me: I love Anna Kendrick. My undoubted highlight of 2013 was finally meeting her after what seemed like years of waiting. Whether it be in 50/50, Up In The Air, Scott Pilgrim, Cake or Pitch Perfect, I just think she is amazing.

With the release of Pitch Perfect 2 a couple of weeks ago, I was really hoping Anna would make a trip over to promote the film, despite the fact that there was sadly no UK premiere to be held. Sure enough, I saw a tweet from one of the UK media agencies listing a few “celebrities in London next week”, which included Anna. I had no idea what she would be doing, but was hoping that something would be announced that I could make. So much so for the week I kept a couple of DVDs and a camera with me at my desk at work, just in case I’d here something last minute that I could make after work.

It was worth doing. With no more than a couple of hours notice, I got word that Anna would be recording a TV interview at the BBC before attending a screening of Pitch Perfect 2. So as soon as work finished, I headed down to the BBC to find a crowd of 20 or so people waiting. I arrived about 5 minutes before the TV show was due to start, so was expecting Anna to have been long inside. But, she hadn’t arrived yet. With the show so close to start, I didn’t imagine she would stop going in; indeed, her car drove into the inaccessible garage usually reserved for servicing vehicles.

But.. this is why I love Anna. Having seen people waiting, rather than go on-air as she should have done, she walked back outside to meet everyone waiting. I was totally shocked!! She didn’t rush in the slightest, and made sure everyone got what they wanted. She kindly signed my 50/50, What to Expect when You’re Expecting and Up In The Air DVD covers, and posed for a photo with me too.

Happy James!!

Posted by: James Rhodes | May 23, 2015

S Club 7

S Club 7

Thursday 7 May

Maybe this isn’t something that I should really publicly say, but my first CD was S Club 7. I distinctly remember when and where it was bought. They were my favourite band as a child, and Rachel Stevens was definitely my first celebrity crush.

However, I never got the chance to see them live, I was just a little bit too young. So, fast forward a decade, the 22 year old me was somewhat (edit: very) excited when it was announced that there would be a one-off S Club 7 reunion tour. There was no way I was going to miss out on tickets and having one of my childhood dreams finally coming true. And if I was going to do this, I made sure I was going to do it in style.

So, on the 7th May, having voted in the general election and spent a morning at work I headed up to Birmingham. Having checked into and been given a free upgrade at my hotel (which it turned out I was sharing with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from Supernatural), I met a friend and we headed to the arena. Oh, did I not mention? When I said if I was going to do this I was going to do it in style, I meant it – not only was I seeing my childhood favourite band live, I was going to meet them too. I’m not usually one for Meet & Greet packages, they’re just not my usual cup of tea; I just find it hard to get my head around the whole concept of them. But the chance to get a photo with all seven members of S Club is not something I could resist.

So, having “checked in” and picked up our tickets, we headed to the VIP meet-up point. We got given the goodies we’d been promised including a “VIP” laminate signed by the band, and were taken off to where we’d meet the band. I’ve never been to a M&G before so wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was all very fast. However, I got to say hello to all of them and blurt out how excited I actually was the the whole evening (which definitely included getting tongue tied meeting Rachel Stevens). Plus, the photo I got with them all has, I think, come out really, really well!

If that wasn’t good enough, the concert itself was absolutely amazing. It was the first night of the tour, and was either going to have been a complete disaster and utterly terrible, or absolutely fantastic. Thankfully it was the latter. We had front row seats, almost bang on in the centre of the stage, which made it that little bit more amazing. All the cheesy hits from when I was young were played, including an absolutely bizarre and hilarious yet surprisingly good acoustic solo version of Reach by Paul Cattermole.

Almost two hours of nothing but childhood fun, I was actually sad when it came to an end. However, since it was probably the only time I’ll stay in a hotel two minutes walk from a concert venue, let alone something that was pretty special to me, there was no way we could not try to meet the band again afterwards.

Security asked everyone to stand behind a barrier on the other side of the road, and said if everyone behaved them someone would come over. Sure enough Jon Lee did. We were pretty sure he was all we would get to meet, so I got his page of the tour programme signed, and a photo with him.

A good hour or so passed, and there was no sign of anyone else. The tourbus just sat there with no activity. Suddenly however there was a bit of movement, and the remaining band members came out. It didn’t look like anyone was going to cross over to us (it was long gone midnight by this point), even though there were only 10 or so people left waiting now given the time. However, they did come over!

Of course I made sure the first person I went over to see was Rachel Stevens. I told her how much I’d loved the night, and she gave me a big hug in return. Happy James! She posed for a photo too, and signed my programme.

Jo O’Meara posed for a photo too, and signed my programme.

As did Bradley McIntosh.

Paul Cattermole signed my programme too, but I didn’t manage to get a photo with him before he went back to the bus. Finally Tina Barrett signed my programme, and posed for a photo too.

I missed Hannah Spearitt in there, but she was the one member of the band I had met before. She’s done theatre in London a few times too, so I’m sure I’ll get a chance to get my programme signed by her one day. So I headed back to my hotel room a very very happy person. I know I use the phrase “best day ever” quite a lot, but this definitely was right up there as one of the best.

It’s true what they say, there’s no party like an S Club party!

Posted by: James Rhodes | April 4, 2015

Empire Awards 2015

Empire Awards 2015

I’m back!

For the past month and a half I have found myself kind of taking an unintentional break from all elements of this hobby; I’m not entirely sure why I did this, but after six weeks I realised that, with the exception of getting to spend time with friends, I hadn’t actually missed any aspects of the hobby. This, alongside four completely failed attempts to meet someone at the Barbican theatre over the past fortnight for a friend (sorry Mike..!), made me question whether I could give up this hobby altogether and not actually miss it. I thought the answer to this was “yes, quite easily”.

However, I found myself back at the side of a red carpet on Sunday. And I realised, on a cold, windy March afternoon, I still absolutely love this hobby!

Sunday saw the annual Empire film awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel. I’ve only been once in the past to these awards, but it was a really fun afternoon; sunny, not too busy, no pushing or arguing, and some pretty awesome guests. So I couldn’t resist going back once more this year. I didn’t look up to see who was going, and had absolutely no idea who was even in London. Having absolutely no idea who or what to expect made it a little bit more exciting.

First to arrive was Spooks star Peter Firth who was happy to sign an index card for me.

He was followed by Henry Lloyd Hughes, who has appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Anna Karenina and The Inbetweeners amongst other things. He also signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

He was followed by The Musketeers and Skins actor Luke Pasqualino, who signed an index card and posed for a photo too.

Mark Strong, star of Tinkor Taylor Soldier Spy, Sherlock Holmes, RocknRolla, Kick Ass and Kingsman: Secret Service arrived next. Mark signed an index card for me, but refused to pose for a photo, saying he was only going to sign for people so he could get to as many people as possible, which seemed fair enough.

The Inbetweeners star Simon Bird was right behind Mark; he posed for a quick photo with me and signed an index card too.

Sofia Boutella from Kingsmen: Secret Service followed; she signed an index card for me.

Peggy Carter aka Hayley Atwell was next to arrive. She was as lovely as usual and signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too. I’ve never had a bad experience meeting Hayley!

Hayley was followed by someone I wasn’t expecting to turn up, Freddie Highmore, star of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Bates Motel. I’ve wanted to meet Freddie for a while, but have never seen him around. He signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too! He looks so different these days to when he played Charlie over a decade ago!

Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy star Karen Gillan was next to come over. I’m a big Doctor Who fan, and was rather happy to get to meet Amy Pond for a second time! Karen signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

Presenter Jonathan Ross followed, and signed an index card and posed for a photo with me. Last time I met Jonathan was at the Empire Awards last time I went, so I decided it was only right to get an updated photo!

Another person I’ve wanted to meet for a while was next to arrive – Love Actually, Nanny McPhee and Nowhere Boy star Thomas Sangster! Thomas was really friendly; he signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too. A new Doctor Who autograph for me too!

Poldark actor Kyle Soller arrived soon after. He signed an index card and posed for a photo.

The always lovely Jessica Chastain was next to arrive. The star of The Help, Zero Dark Thirty and Interstellar spent ages signing and posing for photos with waiting fans. Jessica signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too. I spent ages wanting to meet Jessica, and have now met her three times in seven months!

A few minutes later Superman himself Henry Cavill arrived! Just like Jessica, Henry spent ages meeting fans and posing for photos. He signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too. When the sun had kinda ruined the first attempt, he was kind enough to pose for a second picture! I wish I’d known he was going though, I would have loved to get my Man of Steel promo book signed.

Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs was next to arrive. He signed an index card for me, and also posed for a photo.

One of my favourite actors Simon Pegg was next to arrive. The Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Run Fatboy Run, Paul and Star Trek star happily signed an index card, and posed for a photo with me, which sadly got a bit ruined by the sun! Ah well!

Gollum himself, Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes actor Andy Serkis was next to come over. Andy is one of the nicest guys, always makes time to stop for people! He signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

Andy was followed by The Hobbit and The Musketeers actor Ryan Gage. Ryan signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo.

Ophelia Lovibond, who I know best from BBC comedy W1A soon followed. She signed an index card and posed for a sun-ruined photo too!

Quantum of Solace, Oblivion and The Water Diviner actress Olga Kurylenko came over next. She signed an index card and posed for a photo with me. A new James Bond autograph for me!

The next person to arrive was my favourite of the afternoon, the awesome Peter Capaldi. Whilst most people know Peter now as the twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who, I know Peter best for his role as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It (for the Americans reading this, it’s the British equivalent of Veep, and was created by the same guy). I think The Thick of It is the best British comedy of the 21st century, and I’ve massively got into it over the past couple of years (even if it finished in 2012). I’ve met Peter loads in the past, but never since getting hooked on all things Malcolm Tucker, so this was pretty exciting for me.

Peter spent the longest of anyone signing autographs, he must’ve spent a good 30 minutes meeting fans. He signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

However, I couldn’t resist asking for a second autograph with a dedication of one of my favourite lines ever said by Malcolm Tucker. He loved the suggestion, and that leads to one of my favourite autographs ever! “To James, f*ckity bye! (not the Doctor), Malcolm Tucker xx“.

So happy!!

The last person to come over was Voldemort himself, Ralph Fiennes! Ralph was really friendly, moreso than I have seen him in the past (not that I have ever had a problem with him). He signed an index card and posed for a photo too. However… the camera took a while to take the photo, resulting in a photo that looks like Voldemort is giving me the absolute death stare! I think it’s hilarious!!

and that was that! A really fun afternoon with some great friends and some really friendly actors! If only every event could be like this!

Falling out of love with this hobby? Me? Never!

Posted by: James Rhodes | April 3, 2015

Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – World Premiere

Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – World Premiere

Ever since it was announced that there would be a sequel to the amazing Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I was excited. The first film is one of my all time favourites; if I am ever feeling down or whatever, that’s always guaranteed to cheer me up. So, ever since it was announced that there would be a premiere for the sequel, I had been counting down the days. I genuinely think I was more excited for this premiere than any other I’ve been to (ok, maybe Jennifer Lawrence last November was a little more exciting). But let’s just say, as premiere day arrived, I did not expect it to turn out into the day it did.

Armed with my DVD sleeve of the first film I arrived in Leicester Square and met up with a few friends on the red (well orange actually) carpet. It turned out sadly Richard Gere, Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy would be at the premiere, but that the rest of the cast were due to attend. We were treated to Indian belly dancing, magic tricks and even all got given marigolds to go round our neck. For sure this was one of the more fun waits I have had in the build up to arrivals at a premiere!

First to come over was Tom Wilkinson, who played Graham in the first film and Academy Award nominated for Michael Clayton and In The Bedroom. Tom signed my DVD sleeve back in July 2013 at the premiere of the Lone Ranger, so I got an index card signed by him. He also posed for a photo with me. Off to a good start!

Tom was followed by Lillete Dubey, who plays Mrs Kapoor in both films. Lillete was more than happy to sign my DVD sleeve, as well as an index card. She also posed for a photo with me too. If nothing else I had met a new cast member, so I would be going home happy!

Celia Imrie aka Madge was next to come over. I’ve met Celia a few times in the past, but have never had my DVD sleeve with me. She signed it for me, and posed for a photo too. I never understand why she always looks away from the camera when posing for photos. Always!

David Suchet, known best for his role as TV detective Poirot was a surprise guest, but still signed an index card and posed for a photo with me.

Screenwriter Ol Parker had arrived, and when I called him over was happy to sign my DVD sleeve. I didn’t ask for a photo though. He was soon followed by the film’s director, John Madden, perhaps best known for also directing Shakespeare in Love. John also signed by DVD sleeve as well as an index card, and posed for a photo too.

Both Judi Dench and Maggie Smith also arrived, but neither signed any autographs. Maggie didn’t even do any press interviews, which was a bit of a shame but I wasn’t totally surprised. I’ve met both before though, but would love to get Maggie to sign my DVD sleeve one day. I also missed out on meeting Ronald Pickup and Tina Desae, who didn’t sign where I was. Just as it looked like the evening was done, I got a very big surprise. A group of people going along the red carpet came over to say they had a spare ticket, and asked if anyone wanted to go in to see the film. I absolutely jumped at this opportunity! Getting to see my most anticipated film of the year at its world premiere? Doesn’t get better than that.

So five minutes later I found myself sitting in the front row of the Odeon Leicester Square waiting for Prince Charles to arrive and for the film to be introduced by the cast. Totally surreal! Watching a fanfare and singing the national anthem whilst the future King of England took his seat was something else.

David Suchet started by giving a speech before introducing director John Madden, who in turn introduced the cast onto the stage.

Seeing Maggie Smith and Judi Dench talk on stage together, let alone the majority of the cast of one of my favourite films, something I never expected to see.

The film was AWESOME (if you’ve not seen it, go and see it!); I won’t post anything more about it to avoid spoilers, but I had big expectations, and it exceeded them.

Once everything was done I was going to head home, but decided there was no harm in heading to the afterparty venue to see if I could get a couple more autographs, especially since everyone in the cinema got given a special commemorative book for the premiere. I was surprised to find only three other people waiting at the party! First to arrive was Tom Wilkinson and his wife Diana Hardcastle, who plays Madge in the films. She signed my DVD sleeve and the premiere book, and posed for a photo with me.

She was followed by Judi Dench, who signed my premiere book. I didn’t ask for a photo as I’ve got a couple in the past. Celia Imrie soon followed, and she signed the book too. Celia was followed by Ronald Pickup, who plays Norman. I was quite gutted to miss Ronald on the red carpet, so this was definitely a nice bonus! He signed my DVD sleeve and the premiere book, and posed for a photo with me too.

Tamsin Greig, who has joined the cast for the second film arrived, having been on stage in the West End that evening. She signed the book, and posed for a photo too.

John Madden arrived next, and signed the book too, as did the film’s writer Ol Parker. Tina Desae, who plays Sunaina arrived next. She signed my DVD sleeve before being rushed inside.

and that was that! Definitely one of my favourite evenings in Leicester Square!!

Posted by: James Rhodes | January 25, 2015

Mortdecai UK Premiere

Mortdecai UK Premiere

Monday 19 January 2015

My first post of 2015, even if it isn’t actually the first event I have been to this year. I’ve got some catching up to do, that’s for sure. Anyways, last Monday saw the UK premiere of Johnny Depp‘s latest film, Mortdecai, at the Empire Leicester Square. Johnny, Paul Bettany and director David Koepp were all due to attend, so I went along for a (very) cold evening at the side of the red carpet. I arrived, met up with some friends and waited for the arrivals to start. First to arrive was, of course, Johnny Depp himself, along with girlfriend Amber Heard. Both posed for photographers, before Johnny was whisked away to start doing press interviews.

Once the two of them had finished posing for photos, we called for Amber and after a bit of persuasion she came over and signed a few autographs. She kindly signed an index card for me (with a lovely dedication), and posed for a photo too! Happy James, this alone had made my evening worthwhile!

The film’s director David Koepp followed next. He happily came over to meet fans, and signed my DVD of GhostTown, already signed by Ricky Gervais. He said he was more than happy to sign anything GhostTown related as it “is his favourite film to date”. I didn’t have the guts to tell him it’s definitely not my favourite film to date….! David also signed an index card and posed for a photo with me.

Next to come over was Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, A Beautiful Mind, Wimbledon and Iron Man star Paul Bettany. Paul signed a fair few, although was very quiet in doing so. He signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

Meanwhile singer Mark Ronson, who performs on the film’s score, had arrived and was spending plenty of time signing and posing for photos. He came over to where I was and was really friendly, he signed an index card and posed for a photo with me too. I saw Mark live in October 2010, and was quite pleased to finally get to tell him how good an evening it was, which he seemed to appreciate.

That only left one person to come back to sign, Mr Depp himself. None of us were worried that he’d not yet come this way to sign, given his pretty awesome track record (I’ve been to three premieres with Johnny at before and he has without fail signed for the entire red carpet). Sure enough, after doing all the press interviews that he had to do, Johnny started signing, starting in one very far corner and going along the entire barrier. Of course Jerry, his longstanding bodyguard (and head of the security company that run premieres here) was with him, so he was getting through quite quickly, but he was signing as many as he physically could. By the time he got to me he’d been signing for a good 20-25 minutes.

I had a Dark Shadows premiere ticket from two years ago to get signed, so put this in my autograph book and held it out for Johnny to sign. He happily signed the ticket (which Helena Bonham Carter signed last year), and also without me asking signed my autograph book too! Such a nice guy!

Since it has never done me any harm before, I held out my camera and asked Johnny if he’d quickly look up for a photo. Cue a perfectly timed photo of us both looking at the camera whilst Jerry attempts to move Johnny on. I love it!

and that was that. Two autographs and a photo with Jack Sparrow, and an awesome surprise in the form of Amber Heard. It can’t really get much better than that!


Posted by: James Rhodes | January 4, 2015

2014 Review!

Review of 2014

I love doing this post each year and taking a moment to reflect on the past twelve months. Each year I think that the next can’t beat the last, but I think 2014 has actually managed to do just that. So much so it is actually proving exceptionally difficult to pick out a handful of memorable people I’ve met in the past 365 days. So, rather than do that, I’ve picked some different moments that stand out as the best parts of the year.

Parks & Recreation: during 2014 I really got into Parks & Recreation, and it has become my favourite American TV show over that time. I’ve been lucky enough to meet three main cast members in London in 2014 (Chris Pratt, Rashida Jones and Aziz Ansari), as well as the show’s creator Greg Daniels. I also got the amazing (and for me, as a Londoner, a once in a lifetime) opportunity to meet and spend a day watching Chris, Aziz and Natalie Morales filming in Chicago when I was on holiday. Of all the cities, of all the TV shows, of all the days, quite how that happened I’ll never really know. But I’ll never forget the awesomeness of seeing the sights of Chicago for the first time ever with Andy Dwyer and Tom Haverford. Best day of the year for me without a doubt! Oh, and a fortnight after that, I met Megan Mullally in New York. I hope the Pawnee awesomeness continues for me in 2015.

Silverstone: I was given the opportunity to spend the weekend fundraising at Silverstone this year for the British Grand Prix (Formula 1), a sport that I have grown to love over the past few years. Not only did I get to raise a load of money for Great Ormond Street, but also got to watch the racing and got a paddock pass, meaning I got to meet one of my favourite drivers (Mark Webber), and two racing legends in Emerson Fittipaldi and Alain Prost. I’ve also got to meet Niki Lauda, Jenson Button, Max Chilton, Daniil Kvyat, Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Christian Horner and Eric Boullier from the world of F1 during 2014.

Jennifer Lawrence: my favourite actress posed for a photo with me, and signed three autographs. There’s not much more I can add to that other than I still don’t believe that day actually happened.

Bradley Cooper and the BAFTAs: to keep the Silver Linings Playbook theme going, I finally got to meet Bradley at the BAFTAs in February after 6 or 7 failed attempts in the past. He was as awesome as everyone has always said he is, and signed my 3 Hangover DVDs, a photo from Silver Linings Playbook and posed for a photo that he took himself. That was the crown on a BAFTAs night that included getting autographs from Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Helen Mirren, Christian Bale, Oprah Winfrey, Emma Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Stanley Tucci, Ron Howard, Daniel Bruhl, and a photo with Prince William.

Honourable mentions in my favourites list also go to Ben Stiller, Matt Berninger of the National, Audrey Tautou and Aaron Paul & Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad.

“A List” actors (and a few others) that I have met over the course of 2014 include, in chronological order… Leonardo DiCaprio, Lena Dunham, Keira Knightley, Chris Pine, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hanks, Bradley Cooper, Oprah Winfrey, Christian Bale, Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson, Niki Lauda, Cate Blanchett, Gary Oldman, Rashida Jones, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Ricky Gervais, Emma Watson, Russell Crowe, Ray Winstone, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Simon Cowell, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Brian May, Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston, Julie Walters, Kevin Spacey, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Audrey Tautou, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Joss Whedon, Chris Hemsworth, David Tennant, Martin Freeman, Hugh Jackman, Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Al Pacino, Jessica Chastain, Dakota Fanning, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jason Reitman, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, JK Simmons, Sienna Miller, Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Aziz Ansari, Gillian Anderson, Anna Kendrick, Ben Kingsley, Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller.

Roll on 2015!

Posted by: James Rhodes | December 21, 2014

Night at the Museum 3 Premiere

Night at the Museum 3 Premiere

Monday 15 December 2014

Ah, Leicester Square has been good to me this year – it’s been where a vast proportion of my autographs have been got this year, so it was only right that I finish 2014 there for the UK premiere of Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Ben Kingsley, Rebel Wilson, Alice Eve and director Shawn Levy were all due to attend, so it had the potential to be a great evening. Plus, when I first started out with this hobby in 2005, Ben Stiller was someone I hoped to one day meet, so I was rather excited to finally have the chance.

I headed over after work and met up with a few friends and braved the cold until the action got underway. First to arrive was director Shawn Levy, who as well as the Night at the Museum films has also directed Big Fat Liar, Cheaper by the Dozen, the Pink Panther and Just Married. Shawn kindly signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

Oscar winning Ben Kingsley was next to arrive. I had it in my head that Ben wouldn’t sign too many autographs for people, but the Gandhi, Schindler’s List and Sexy Beast actor took a fair bit of time to sign for people. He kindly signed my DVD of Gandhi and an index card.

Former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens followed soon after. He signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too.

A few minutes later Ben Stiller arrived, along with his wife Christine Taylor! Both posed for photographers before Ben was taken off to do press interviews with a promise that he’d come back to sign later. Whilst Ben was being interviewed Christine was just standing around waiting, and she was more than happy to come over when we called for her. She was really friendly and spent a while talking to fans that recognised her. She kindly signed my Dodgeball DVD sleeve and an index card, and posed for a photo too.

Ricky Gervais arrived next, and was his usual awesome self, signing anything and everything people had for him. However, as he got closer to us, Alice Eve came over to sign. Now I love Ricky, but I’ve met him twice already this year and a lot more times on top of that over the past few years, so I left him to get Alice instead. Alice kindly signed an index card, and posed for a photo with me too.

Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson arrived next and after posing for photographers came over to sign for people. I can’t lie, the Pitch Perfect fan in me definitely fanboyed out a little bit, I was probably a little more excited than I should’ve been to meet Fat Amy! Rebel signed an index card for me, and posed for a photo too. Can’t believe I met Fat Amy and Beca in the same week (more on the latter to follow in another post!).

The second Wilson of the night soon followed, Owen Wilson! The Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, Little Fockers, Zoolander, Wedding Crashers, Cars, Marley & Me, Midnight in Paris and The Internship star seemed a bit spaced out and was being exceptionally picky in what he did and didn’t sign for no logical reason. He signed one, then would stare at the next thing along before deciding whether to sign it or not. But was much more receptive to posing for photos with people. He signed my autograph book and posed for a photo with me too, but decided to not look at the camera. Ah well…!

That left only one person to come back over to complete the set – Ben Stiller. Ben’s one of my all time favourite actors, and I had a hard time trying to choose which DVD sleeve to get signed out of the set that I have. In the end I went for Meet the Fockers as my favourite of the films I have of his, but brought all the others anyways, just to allow me to change my mind. Anyways, Ben was awesome – he went along the entire barrier signing and posing for everyone he could. He got to me, and I was definitely starstruck, which very rarely happens. But then I rarely meet someone that I hoped to meet when I first started this hobby almost a decade ago. I asked Ben to sign my Meet the Fockers DVD, and told him I had the two other films from the series underneath that sleeve, if he would mind signing them too. Sure enough, he signed the first DVD, and rather than hand them back, went through and signed all 5. I was gobsmacked. He signed Meet the Fockers, Meet the Parents, Little Fockers, Dodgeball and Tropic Thunder for me. How many A Listers do that, least of all on a red carpet?! The pen wasn’t the greatest, but I’m really not that worried.

He also posed for a photo with me too. Definitely one of the nicest celebrities I have met this year, if not ever. Still shocked.



And that was the end of a very fun and successful evening, and a very fun and successful 2014. The year started in Leicester Square, and that’s where it ended. I’ve still a few other write ups from the year to do, but what a way to end!

Posted by: James Rhodes | November 12, 2014

Horrible Bosses 2 World Premiere

Horrible Bosses 2 World Premiere

Wednesday 12 November 2014

I genuinely think all premieres should be like this. You arrive at 4pm, and you leave by 4.45pm. 45 minutes!! That’s how long I was in Leicester Square today for the world premiere of Horrible Bosses 2. When this premiere was announced with Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day attending I was rather excited; not only did I really enjoy the first film, but three of the four cast are in other things that I love; Jason Bateman in Juno, Jason Sudeikis in my second favourite American TV show of all time, 30 Rock, and Jennifer Aniston in my all time favourite film Bruce Almighy (I know, I have odd taste).

Anyways, I was at work this morning and got a message from a friend; “you realise arrivals start at 4.30pm tonight, not 6.30pm as usual?”. Two hours earlier! I had to bargain to leave work earlier than planned, but managed to meet up with a few friends who had saved me a spot (not that they needed to, it was only two people deep when arrivals started).

First to arrive was Jason Sudeikis, best known to me for Saturday Night Live (awesome!), We’re the Millers (awesome!), Drinking Buddies (awesome!) and as flower guy Floyd on 30 Rock (awesome!). I’ve wanted to meet Jason for a while now, and was very glad when he came straight over to sign. He signed a We’re the Millers promo for me, as well as my Horrible Bosses DVD sleeve and an index card. He also posed for a photo too. Such a friendly guy! Jason’s the first person I’ve met from 30 Rock (I know he wasn’t a main character, but I’m still very happy!), now for Tina Fey to come over!

Jason Bateman arrived next. He signed a few on the other side of the red carpet, but not many before stopping. He signed one then skipped five or so, signed another and skipped. Alas I didn’t get to meet him. Kind of disappointed, but I’m sure there’ll be another chance soon.

Jennifer Aniston was next to arrive! She started signing, but again was skipping a fair few things. I managed to get my We’re the Millers promo signed, though. I debated for a long time whether to bring my Bruce Almighty DVD. It’s my all time favourite film, and I was super excited to meet one of the main cast. But… it’s already signed by Jim Carrey pretty perfectly, and I daren’t get anyone else to sign it incase they go over his signature or something. It stayed at home as my most prized autograph!

Charlie Day was the last person to arrive. He came straight over to sign, and took his time to meet as many people as he could. He signed my Horrible Bosses DVD, and posed for a photo with me.

and that was that. Nice and simple, and an exceptionally short wait for a premiere!

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