Drawing: Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt

This is another one of those sketches that I’ve carried around in my folder ‘just in case’. Obviously in this case, in case I bump into Brad Pitt. I can’t remember when I did it and could probably draw a better and more updated one, but for some reason I liked it and thought it captured him at the time whenever that was. A few ‘just in case’ moments arrived and went without success, until yesterday at the final night gala screening of his latest film, the WWII epic Fury at the BFI London Film Festival in Leicester Square, London.

As expected he generously signed for the entire line, which was immense given his popularity. This time I managed to get to the front line (appropriate given the film’s genre) near the drop off point. As with his ‘graphs at the World War Z premiere (the ones I saw, but didn’t manage to get!), Brad’s taken to signing in a large spirit based calligraphic marker to ‘draw’ his distinctive BP monogram. He apologised for not dedicating, “just too many to do,” but gave a nod of approval for the sketch.

I said to a fellow front liner next to me, “it’s a long day for one sig,” to which he replied, “it’s even longer if you don’t get one.”

Indeed.

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Drawing: Anne-Marie Duff in Cause Célèbre at The Old Vic Theatre

Anne Marie Duff

In 2011 four time BAFTA nominee Anne-Marie Duff played Alma Rattenbury in Terrance Rattigan’s final play Cause Célèbre at London’s Old Vic directed Thea Sharrock.

It was part of the centenary celebrations for the acclaimed English playwright. Originally staged in London in 1977, just a few months before the dramatist’s death, the courtroom drama is based on the famous case of Alma Rattenbury who was charged in 1935, together with her teenage lover, with the murder of her husband who had been bludgeoned to death. It is structurally daring, mixing the traditional conventions of courtroom drama with flashbacks.

“Anne-Marie Duff is electrifying in this terrific revival” wrote Charles Spencer in his four star Telegraph review.

Drawing: Nigel Lindsay in Shrek

Nigel Lindsay

British actor Nigel Lindsay played the title role in the original production of Shrek The Musical which opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 14 June 2011. He finished in February 2012, earning nominations for both the Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage Awards for Best Actor in a Musical.

The previous year he won the latter for Best Supporting Actor as Dr Harry Hyman in Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass at the Tricylcle Theatre in London.

To play the grumpy Socttish ogre Shrek, Nigel had to spend 90 minutes before each performance having a prosthetic make up applied. There was also a touch of the Time Lord in his voice – he asked his mate David Tennant to help him out with this delivery  – a cross between Kenny Dalglish and the former Dr Who. David said if he did Kenny no one would understand him, Nigel responded that, “yeah, but you’re too fey” so David ‘butched’ it up for him.

Nigel’s currently playing Charlie Fox in David Mamet’s Speed the Plow at London’s The Playhouse where he signed my sketch last night.

Drawing: Ian Thorpe, “The Thorpedo”

ian thorpe

Ian Thorpe is one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Predominantly a freestyler, he won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian. He was the highest achieving athlete at the 2000 games in Sydney with 3 golds and 2 silvers.

AT the 2001 World Aquatics Championships he became the first person to win six gold medals in one meet. In total he has won eleven World Golds, the second highest of any swimmer. Three years later at the Athens Olympics he won the 200m and 400m freestyle titles.

He attracted a legion of viewers for his gentle admonishments and thoughtful insights as a swimming pundit for the BBC during the 2012 London Olympics and Australia’s Channel 10 at this years Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. One reporter label him the “philosopher King of the BBC sofa”. He refused to give pat answers and has a dry wit. When a fellow commentator said, “unlucky lane five”, he deadpanned, “there is water in every lane, so it is ok”.

Ian retired in 2006, but returned to swimming with the aim of making the Australian team for the London Olympics. He competed at the Olympic trials but missed out. A shoulder injury scuttled plans to target qualification for the World Champs in Barcelona and this year’s Glasgow Games. He did however make it to Scotland in his commentary capacity and signed my sketch.

Drawing: Anna Friel and Joseph Cross in Breakfast at Tiffany’s at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Breakfast At Tiffany's

One of the most anticipated productions of 2009 was the stage version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket, featuring Anna Friel as Holly Golightly and Joseph Cross as her neighbour William Parsons. It was the role that established Audrey Hepburn as a glamour icon and arguably Capote’s most famous character.

He wanted Marilyn Monroe for the 1961 Hollywood film, and hated Hepburn in the part. In fact, he hated the whole film. He called it, “a mawkish Valentine to New York City… thin and pretty where as it should have been rich and ugly!” The stage version is considered a closer adaption of the book.

The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer gave the production four stars. “This is the sexiest performance I have seen on stage since Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room… Friel creates a thrilling frisson of eroticism.”

The production opened on the 29th of September, concluding on 9th January 2010. Both Anna and Joseph signed my quick black biro sketch in the final week.

Drawing: Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

It’s the BFI London Film Festival time, signalling the start of the British Monsoon Season. 248 films, 17 venues, 12 days, 1 Festival, 600mm of rain!

Was I keen to attempt to get Reese Witherspoon’s ‘graph through the drops? Would it, in fact, even be possible? I umm-ed and ahhh-ed, watching the continuous rain come down. You can check out the live feed from a camera on the Radisson Hotel. The lens was covered in water so I couldn’t tell if the pens were full of people yet.

Did the sketch in a few minutes, thinking I would pull pin on the pursuit. Had a granny nap, woke up at 5 past 5, went on auto-pilot and found myself on the train and in Leicester Square at six for a 7.15pm film start. Ultra late, but in luck. A spot was available right near the drop off point.

As the rain got heavier I quickly prepared plastic protection for the sketch. Reese’s car arrived moments later and she was on the right side – brilliant timing and positioning. She popped out, came straight over, thanked us all for coming out in this weather and said, “Oh, what a lovely drawing,” and signed and dedicated it with minimal damage from the weather before moving on to do media.

Drawing: Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt

Sprint sensation Usain St Leo Bolt is considered to be the fastest person ever. The Jamaican sporting phenomenon nicknamed ‘Lightning Bolt’ for obvious reasons, including his famed victory stance, is undoubtably track and field’s most electrifying star.

The first man to hold both the 100 and 200 metre world records since fully automatic time measurements became mandatory in 1977. Both were secured in Berlin, in August 2009, running the 100 in 9.58 seconds and the 200 in 19.19 seconds.

Add to that the “double triple” at the Olympics, winning gold in the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay at both Beijing (2008) and London (2012).

Known for his relaxed approach, Usain famously fed on chicken nuggets before winning the 100 at Beijing. He didn’t have breakfast and woke up at 11, watched some TV then had some chicken nuggets, slept for 2 more hours, then went back for more nuggets!

After winning the 100 metres in London he celebrated back in his room in the Olympic VIllage til 3am, with three members of the Swedish women’s handball team, before running the heats of the 200 later that day. Despite losing all five of their matches and finishing  bottom of their group, the handballers; Gabriella Kain, Isabelle Gullden and Jamina Roberts asked for “special accreditation” to meet their idol.

A week later he was a guest on the Jonathan Ross show at the ITV studios on London’s Southbank. Hunters, including moi, lined the railings opposite the back entrance to catch a glimpse or possibly a ‘graph. While waiting for his car to arrive, he signed for us through the gaps. As you could imagine, the crowd was a huge crush, and I was left with the impression of a railing on my face for a couple of hours afterwards. But worth it.

Drawing: Paul McGann in Butley at Duchess Theatre

mcgann and west

Paul McGann starred alongside Dominic West in the revival of Simon Gray’s biting comedy Butley in the summer of 2011 at London’s Duchess Theatre after a gap of 40 years. Dominic took on the iconic title role of the boozing and abusing rapier-tongued uni lecturer Ben Butley, well-bent on self-destruction and Paul played Reg Nuttall, the eloquent, steely new to Yorkshire lover of Butley’s housemate Joey. The play premiered in 1971 in Harold Pinter’s award-winning production starring Alan Bates at the Criterion Theatre in London and was described as a ‘darkly comic assault on the soft underbelly of academia’.

Drawing: Anna Carteret in Shakespeare in Love

Anna Carteret

British stage and screen actress Anna Carteret has quite literally follow in footsteps of Dame Judi Dench playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love and on the same stage as the great Dame recently performed in Peter and Alice – The Noël Coward Theatre in London. She is probably best known on the small screen as Police Inspector Kate Longton in th BBC’s long-running 1980s series Juliet Bravo

Anna made her first stage appearance as a cloud and a jumping bean in the panto Jack and the Beanstalk at the Palace Theatre in Watford in December 1957.

She joined Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company at the Old Vic in 1967 and over many a decade her performances included Olivia in Twelfth Night, Queen Isabel in Richard II, Roxane in Cyrano, Chorus in Oedipus and Anya in The Cherry Orchard.

Anna has played a Queen Elizabeth before, in the National’s 1979 production of Richard III. She also played Queen Margaret in the same play, for the Royal Shakespeare Company 20 years later. Throughout the 1990s as a member of The Peter Hall Company she appeared on both West End and the Broadway boards.

Drawing: Charlotte Lucas, Jessica Raine and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in The Changeling at The Young Vic Theatre

The Changeling1

 

Jessica Raine and Charlotte Lucas featured in the sell out hit The Changeling at London’s Young Vic, helmed by the Theatres’ Deputy Artistic Director Joe Hill-Gibbings in early 2012. Described as a ‘darkly comic tale of sex, love and panic’ this was a modern-dress revival of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s 1622 classic which was originally set in Renaissance Spain. One reviewer called it “The Changeling supercharged – urgent, sexy and messy.”

It’s focus is the doomed romance between Alsemero, a nobleman and Beatrice-Joanna’s impending marriage to another man, until she finds a solution… which has deadly consequences. Jessica described her character in three words “clever, lusty and murderous”.

Her maid, Diaphanta (Charlotte) performs the bedroom trick, and stands in for Beatrice (Jessica) in a highly lubricious and well-lubricated spectacle in which a blindfolded Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Charlotte smear themselves with jelly!