Drawing: Lee Chang-dong

Autographed drawing of director Lee Chang-dong

Celebrated South Korean film director and writer Lee Chang-dong was one of the guests at this year’s BFI London Film Festival, which has just concluded. His latest film BURNING was chosen for a Gala Screening and he also delivered a screen talk.

Fresh from success at the Cannes Film Festival where the mystery drama was in competition for the Palm d’Or, Lee won the Federation Internationale de la Presse Cinematographique – the International Critics prize. He had previously collected the Best Screenplay award in 2010 for his film POETRY. Lee was also South Korea’s Minister of Culture and Tourism in 2003/2004 which was part of President Roh Moo-hyun’s election promise to fill the position from the field of culture rather than a professional politician.

He signed my sketch at the BFI on London’s Southbank before his screen talk on Saturday.

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Drawing: Sir Michael Parkinson

Autographed drawing of Sir Michael Parkinson

The Guardian newspaper simply described Sir Michael Parkinson as ‘the great British talk show host.’ The doyen of his craft, peerless and unrivalled then and now, ‘Parky’ was the flagship of the BBC’s prime time schedule with his PARKINSON series.

The eighty-three year old Yorkshireman and son of a miner, started in print journalism before ‘discovering’ TV. His career has spanned over five decades, interviewing every notable celebrity – with two exceptions – and in the process becoming one himself. The most remarkable, he said was Muhammad Ali and the two he regrets not interviewing were Frank Sinatra and Sir Don Bradman.

I’ve meet Parky on a few occasions, the last at Lords during the England vs India cricket test match last month, but never had a sketch to get graphed. That was rectified when I drew this one, sent it to his home in Berkshire and it came back suitably inscribed.

Drawing: Paul Greengrass

Autographed drawing of director Paul Greengrass

One of my favourite filmmakers is British director Paul Greengrass… in fact he’s one of the nicest people in the business. I have been fortunate to meet him on a few occasions and he has always been nothing less than affable, ‘cheerful and deeply untortured’ as Danny Leigh described him in his Financial Times interview.

The most recent occasion was just over a week ago. He was sitting in the BFI having a quiet coffee, before taking part in a special event about his work with broadcaster Mark Kermode. I interrupted the serenity with a sig request on my sketch. He was nothing less than affable, cheerful, even deeply untortured and accommodating.

An Alma Mater of Queen’s College, Cambridge, Paul joined the ITV current affairs programme WORLD IN ACTION in the 1980’s. He co-authored the book SPYCATCHER, with Peter Wright, former assistant director of M15, which the British government tried to ban due to its sensitive content, ensuring its profit and notoriety. Paul’s background in TV journalism marks his signature visual style, what he calls ‘the unknowing camera’ – often hand-held, never keeping pace with events happening half a second ahead. He makes action thrillers with brains and startling realism, inspired by real-world events such as UNITED 93, his 2006 film about the fate of United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September 11, 2001 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when passengers foiled the terrorist plot.

Paul was honoured with an Oscar nomination and won the BAFTA for his direction. He was also nominated for a Writers Guild Award for the original screenplay. Paul’s latest film, 22 JULY, based on Norway’s largest terrorist attack is set to be Netflix biggest global theatrical release.

Drawing: Spike Lee

Autographed drawing of director Spike Lee

‘Spike Lee Joints’ typically refers to the acclaimed American director’s films. His latest joint, BLACKKKLANSMAN is regarded as his “most accessible and narratively satisfying movie in over a decade.” Critics have called it a return to form for the socially conscious auteur, winning the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and being nominated for the Palm d’Or. It is based on the 2014 memoirs of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department who sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Among his many accolades, Spike has received both an Honorary BAFTA and Oscar, with the later citing “a champion of independent film and an inspiration to young filmmakers.”

After Cannes, Spike attended a screening of BLACKKKLANSMAN at the BFI in London followed by a Q+A. I had hoped to get my sketch signed at the event, but he arrived and apologised, said he had to quickly get into the auditorium, but would see us afterwards. I was unable to wait so I sent the drawing to his film company in Brooklyn, New York and it came back signed and dedicated.

Drawing: Jen Kirkman

Autographed drawing of comedian Jen Kirkman

Massachusetts-born, LA-based comedian, podcaster and actor Jen Kirkman brought her THE ALL NEW MATERIAL, GIRL tour to London’s Soho Theatre earlier this year for a sell-out run and returned for a one-night only gig at the Leicester Square Theatre in June.

She does regular stand-up at the Hollywood Improv and The Laugh Factory. On TV she’s a panellist on CHELSEA LATELY and narrates DRUNK HISTORY, while her podcast I SEEM FUN gets 50,000 downloads a month. Jen is a stand-up consultant and writer for Amy Sherman-Palladino’s latest hit series THE MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL, which won two Golden Globes recently and has six Emmy nominations.

In a Guardian interview earlier this year she said, “My fan base tends to be, for want of a better phrase, on the punk-rock side of life, feminists, lesbians, guys who wear nail polish, mums who are really fun and like to drink a lot.” She also said the audiences are different, depending on the day. “Monday’s are more responsive, anyone going out on a Monday must be a die-hard fan. Whereas on Fridays, people have worked all week, they’re tired and angry… and drinking. Friday’s are the toughest, weird energy. Saturday’s are just rowdy, so if you can combine the loyalty of Monday with the rowdiness of Saturday that would be ideal.”

Jen signed my drawing for me at her Leicester Square one show only on 22 June. It was a Friday.

Drawing: Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement – Flight Of The Conchords

Autographed drawing of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement Flight Of The Conchords

Self-styled as New Zealand’s ‘fourth most popular guitar-based digital-bongo acapella- rap-funk-comedy-folk duo’, and ‘retired sex symbols’, Flight Of The Conchords, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement are, by global consensus, one of the most successful musical comedy bands on the planet.

As fellow Kiwis… actually as a members of the human race we had to see them perform live, the first time in eight years in the UK. We managed to get tickets to see them at London’s O2. However their big comeback, sold-out arena tour was postponed after a couple of dates, when Bret fell down a flight of stairs, breaking two bones in his hand, “a very rock ‘n’ roll injury” he wrote on his Instagram post.

Bones fixed, the bona fide rock stars rescheduled, adding extra shows. We finally got to the O2 gig on 22 June. “Sorry we’re three months late,” they said in typical Conchordian laid back schtick. Jemaine also apologised for looking ‘older and dustier’, but Bret pointed out that the audience have also put on some years since they last toured “So we’re even.” In London, they did three sell-out shows at the O2 and four at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith.

The O2’s a fortress and nigh impossible to meet the artists let alone get stuff signed. The Apollo isn’t much better, with a reinforced gate protecting the lane to the stage door, but it has an opening. I had also heard that sometimes barriers are erected for after show signing and selfie sessions. I decided to go with an entry rather than exit option and quickly did this sketch, arriving at the said gate just as it was closing after Bret and Jemaine had passed through in a big black van and down to the stage door.

However, while I was muttering the typical antipodean expletive, ‘bugger’ or something stronger, a very accommodating gentleman with a lanyard approached me and asked if he could help. I explained the situation and he promised to pass it on. A month passed, nothing returned. Then yesterday this arrived back in the post. Apologies for thinking the worse of said accommodating gentleman with lanyard… in fact ‘thanks.’

Drawing: Samuel L. Jackson

Autographed drawing of actor Samuel L Jackson

Samuel Leroy Jackson is one of the most prolific film actors on the planet and as a consequence he has the highest-grossing film total of all time it’s a US box office over $5.1 billion, averaging $70.5 million per film and over $12 billion worldwide.

Most will know of at least one Samuel L. Jackson film – he’s been in a fair number – so no need listing them and many of the titles are lengthy, such as CAPTAIN AMERICA: INFINITY WAR, his latest instalment as Marvel’s Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D. He was in London a few weeks ago at the Disney premiere of INCREDIBLES 2 at the BFI. Samuel returns as the voice of Lucius Best, known as Frozone, who has the ability to freeze water.

I’d actually had this sketch for a while, I think since a few CAPTAIN AMERICA or AVENGER premieres ago, but no sig-gar! This time I managed to find myself in the right spot on the red carpet on a very hot, sunny Sunday and Samuel signed it for me.

Drawing: Miriam Margoyles in Madame Rubinstein

Autographed drawing of Miriam Margoyles in Madame Rubinstein at the Park Theatre in London

In May last year the irresistible BAFTA Award-winning actress Miriam Margoyles returned to the London stage in the titular role of Jez Bond’s MADAME RUBINSTEIN at the Park Theatre. The play centres around the intense rivalry between 20th century cosmetic giants Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden (played by Frances Barber). Coincidently, it was also the subject of WAR PAINT, a simultaneous production on Broadway with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole.

I last saw Miriam as Nell in Samuel Beckett’s ENDGAME at the Duchess Theatre in 2009. Three years earlier she was one of the original cast members of the musical WICKED, as Madame Morrible at the Apollo and subsequently at the George Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. HARRY POTTER fans will know her as Professor Pomona Sprout. I’m a big fan of her THE REAL MARIGOLD HOTEL travel doco series… and told her so.

Her ‘comic tour de force’ in MADAME RUBINSTEIN was described by Alun Hood in his WhatsOnStage review. “Margoyles plays Rubinstein-so imperious that even her own children call her ‘Madame’-to the absolute hilt: she’s brash, amoral, manipulative, paranoid, rude, crazy: a bejewelled gorgon in a pillar box red dress. She is also, in Margoyles’ endlessly skilled hands, utterly irresistible.”

Miriam is a humanitarian advocate for many causes. I managed to catch-up with her when she arrived at the Royal Society of Medicine last Friday evening for The Silver Line’s fundraising event, which operates a 24 hour helpline for older people, where she signed my Madame R sketch.

Drawing: Orlando Bloom in Killer Joe

Autographed drawing of Orlando Bloom in Killer Joe at Trafalgar Studios in London's West End

Orlando Bloom has returned to the boards after an five year absence, playing the titular hitman in Tracey Lett’s Texas trailer-park Gothic play KILLER JOE at the Trafalgar Studios.

After making his West End debut eleven years ago in IN CELEBRATION at the Duke of York’s, Orlando’s first and only Broadway appearance was the lead in ROMEO AND JULIET at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2013, which the New York Times described as a “first rate Broadway debut.”

He plays Joe Cooper, a Dallas policeman with a sideline in contract killing, who is hired by the dysfunctional Smith family to kill a wealthy matriarch and claim the insurance money. When the clients can’t produce the cash for a down payment, Joe demands an alternative ‘retainer.’ Writing in the Telegraph, Paul Taylor says, “Bloom’s Joe is creepily calm and considered, hypnotic in the measured slowness with which he masks his menacing intent. The controlled swagger of his rhythms is in distinct contrast to all the chaotic kerfuffing of the trailer folk. Bloom’s fine performance gathers in intensity and by the end of the play he’s in full sinister command of the stage.”

The Guardian’s Michael Billington has similar praise for Orlando’s performance. “Bloom excellently suggests Joe’s cool confidence, exaggerated politese and head for business.”

Orlando signed and dedicated my drawing a couple of weeks ago after a Saturday matinee.

Drawing: Sally Bretton in An Ideal Husband

Autographed drawing of Sally Bretton in An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre on London's West End

English actress Sally Bretton has returned to the London stage as the ‘too virtuous to be true’ Lady Chiltern in Oscar Wilde’s AN IDEAL HUSBAND, the penultimate production in Dominic Dromgoole’s year-long Wilde season at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Last seen as Goneril in KING LEAR at Shakespeare’s Globe a decade ago, Sally plays the adoring wife who believes she has found the ‘ideal husband’ in the upright and incorruptible politician Sir Robert Chiltern. But he harbours a dark secret.

Sally will also be known to TV viewers as Lucy Adams in NOT GOING OUT with Lee Mack and as Martha Lloyd in DEATH IN PARADISE. She signed my quick sketch at the Vaudeville stage door last week.