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.

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Drawing: Leslie Caron

French-American dancing legend and film icon Leslie Caron attended a screening of her 1962 film THE L-SHAPED ROOM at the BFI London Film Festival on Saturday. She won the BAFTA and Golden Globe and was nominated for the Oscar for her performance as a young French woman pregnant with an illegitimate child. The film represented a departure from the musical comedies that made her an international star-AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, GIGI and LILI, the latter earning her another BAFTA and Oscar nomination. In 2007 Leslie won an Emmy Award for her guest role in LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT. At the age of 86 she is still acting, appearing on the small screen as Countess Mavrodaki in the 2016 series of ITV’s THE DURRELLS. I was lucky enough to meet her at the BFI when she arrived for the screening and signed my drawing.

Drawing: Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Denerve001

Catherine Fabienne Dorléac is one of France’s most renowned actresses and better known as Catherine Deneuve.

Promoting the period comedy film Potiche at the British Film Institute in June 2011, she was ‘mobbed’ by autograph hunters and protected by a number of of security staff as she quickly went from the entrance to the BFI’s green room.

I was positioned at the halfway point on the bend. She was about to rush by, saw the sketch and stopped to sign it, then continued on her trajectory at light speed.

Earlier that year, she made headlines in Madrid when she was asked to put out her cigarette at a press conference promoting the same film. She said she would rather pay the fine. I didn’t see her with a ciggy in hand, but I did get her siggy, which was very fine!

Drawing: Eddie Izzard

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A quick, minimal lined indian ink portrait with letraset spirit-based marker of comedian, actor and sometimes transvestite Eddie Izzard (without eyeliner). I’m seeing his Force Majeure show tonight at London’s O2.

I met him at the British Film Institute in December 2011, when he did a Q&A after the screening of his film Lost Christmas. He said, “you know, I usually sign drawings on the back,” and did so. A quick, moderately line ‘graph in blue sharpie

eddie izzard siggy001

Drawing: Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise001

It’s April – not that the weather’s come to the party, as it continued to chuck down the white stuff…. but, as they say ‘there’s no business like snow business.’

Appropriately, a white carpet (or maybe originally it was red!) awaited Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and director Joseph Kosinski for the UK premiere of the Sci Fi saga Oblivion at the BFI IMAX near London’s Waterloo station.

One of the highest paid and most sought-after actors in screen history, Tom Cruise, has played a bartender, soldier, pilot, special agent, samurai, contract killer, senator, magazine owner, lawyer, sports agent, student, vampire, race-car driver and pool player can now add one of the few remaining drone repairmen assigned to an Earth devastated by decades of war with the alien Scavs.

One forecast was guaranteed, whatever the weather, Thomas Cruise Mapother IV would not disappoint his frozen fans. Thankfully, he shortened his moniker, or it would be Summer before he finished signing. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Tom doesn’t rush. He always arrives early, completes media commitments, and then spends as much time as it takes ‘signing the line’ (that’s graphers lingo for everyone).

The planet’s biggest star is also its biggest signer. An interesting fact: he’s actually left handed but signs with his right hand. He has been known to spend up to 3 hours signing siggies and posing for pics prior to screenings. That’s quality and quantity, but then he’s good with numbers. Each one of his three wives have been 11 years younger than the previous one. And they were all 33 when the marriages ended. So maybe he’s more of a numerologist than a Scientologist.

By the time he got to me which was around half an hour after he started down Sharpie street, he must have signed nigh on 100 ‘graphs. When he saw my sketch he was really pleased with it and we had a brief chat and he signed and dedicated it. Mission: Acccomplished