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.

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: Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant

Fifty four year old Hugh Grant thinks he’s getting too old to play the lead in romantic comedies. Yesterday he was at the Odeon cinema in Kensington for the premiere of his latest film, The Rewrite, and he doesn’t think it is a rom-com… or maybe just a little bit.

Not one for stardom and celebrity status, Hugh, “isn’t feeling very showbizzy at the moment”. In fact he’s more of an anti-film star. He often claims that acting isn’t a true calling, just something he fell into. But he is known for a very strong work ethic on set and will do endless takes to achieve the desired standard.

His films have earned US$2.4 billion from 25 theatrical releases worldwide, especially in the genre of romantic comedy. Although recently he played several non-comedic cameo roles, all in one film. He plays six characters in the epic drama Cloud Atlas, all of which he said are, “incredibly evil”.

He has joined the latest craze to replace the ‘ice bucket challenge’. Launched by Jemima Khan, ‘wake up call’ is where famous people take pictures of themselves after they’ve just woken up. It raises money for Unicef’s Syria Emergency Fund. Others to do it are Stephen Fry, Derren Brown, Tom Hiddleston and Nigella Lawson.

For the sake of recognition and avoiding rejection I based my sketch on a more familiar looking Hugh. I was a last minute thing. The Odeon in London’s fashionable High Street Kensington is a little way out of my normal beaten track. Hugh makes his acting appear spontaneous. He is known for his nonchalant approach with a touch of sarcasm and irony, precisely timed dialogue, delivery and facial expressions.

Hugh was generous with his time for the sizeable crowd at the small cinema, signing graphs and posing for selfies. His quick efficient sig was splashed across my drawing, and belatedly I asked for a dedication, “To Mark” in my six-years-living-in-London-antipodean-accent. “Matt?” he asked, “no, with a k,” I replied. Puzzled, he gave his famous smile and returned the drawing to me…

Drawing: Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Without a doubt, the biggest attraction at Monday’s UK premiere of Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah was Emma Watson, judging by the volume of ovations when her name was mentioned (several times) and the number of teenage girls in the crowd, of biblical proportions. There was, of course, a sizeable share of male admirers.

As usual Emma signed for as much of the line as her other commitments allowed her, I drew this sketch about a year ago, when Emma had her post-Potter pixie crop, and carried it around but kept missing her at the odd event she attended in London.

She looked genuinely amazed with it, “what a beautiful drawing,” and took time to chat. Judging by the inscription I felt pretty pleased with my day.

Drawing: George Clooney

George Clooney

I first met George Clooney on the Warner Bros lot sometime in the mid 1990s, I was heading to the set of ER… and so was he, on a bicycle. He reminded me of Paul Newman in the famous scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, although George took a more direct route without Katherine Ross on his handlebars and being chased by an angry  bull.

Since then I have met George over numerous occasions at various events on the natural cycle of life and he has always been the same – charming, funny, friendly and accommodating. I recall interviewing him at ShoWest in Las Vegas while he was promoting Three Kings. I was the last in a lengthy line up. He was due on stage and the organisers were urging him to move… but he stayed and chatted. “I’d love to work in New Zealand,” he said. “I’ll play the drunk in the corner.”

Our paths briefly crossed again at the UK premiere of his latest film The Monument Men at the Odeon in Leicester Square last night, in which he does everything – act, direct, produce, write.

He was in good form – not just charming, friendly and accommodating, but quick too as he rapidly ‘did the entire line’. He saw my sketch and said, “oh, nice!” and signed his distinctive ‘GCy’ moniker.

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