Oct 4, 2011  •  In Entertainment, Movies, NYC, Personal, Sports

Celebrity Sightings and Meetings

I just finished watching the season premiere of Dexter and was surprised to see that Colin Hanks would be playing this season’s villain. Don’t get me wrong — I know that he is a great actor and would probably knock the role out of the park, but having met him in person, it is a bit difficult to imagine this outgoing, easily likable young man portraying a sinister character on screen.

Thinking about the contrast between Colin Hanks’ character on Dexter versus what I knew of him from our encounter made me consider all the celebrities I have ever met, and (if they are actors/actresses) how they contrast from the roles they play, as well as their public perception.

Having lived near NYC for the majority of my life, I actually have NOT met a lot of celebrities. I have friends who seem to run into stars on a regular basis, but being a hermit who, when going out, prefers to haunt safe and tried spots, I have only met a handful of famous names compared to my friends.

My very first celebrity sighting is definitely one of my most memorable, because he is one of my all-time favorite basketball players: Allan Houston! You can read about my encounter here, and the biggest thing I can take away from our meeting is that he actually seemed a bit goofy and clumsy off-court! (But then again, I have heard the same of many professional athletes — that they seem awkward and unnatural out of their natural elements. ;-))

Then there was the cast of Gossip Girl. The show had just started to become popular, so I had no idea who they were at the time — all I knew was that J and I were about to shoot our engagement pictures, and they were creating extra traffic and commotion that interfered with our plans!

(You can read more about it here. And on the subject of celebrities, random tourists started taking pictures of me and J that day after seeing our photographer follow us around — they thought we were celebrities!)

What stands out the most about seeing Serena et al. that day was that they all seemed super nice. Every time that the director yelled, “Cut!” a gaggle of screaming fans would swarm over to the stars. And while the weather was chilly that day (and the female cast scantily clad), the cast ignored the assistants hovering nearby with warm coats and heaters, and instead took time to meet with the fans, sign autographs, and take pictures with them.

I also have a former co-worker who had drinks with Chace Crawford at the height of his Gossip Girl stardom, and she recalls that he was a total sweetheart who was not pretentious or stuck-up at all. Definitely an improvement over their television characters!

My third celebrity sighting came when I attended the New York premiere of The Great Buck Howard (see my post about it here). This was where I met Colin Hanks, in addition to his father, Tom Hanks (!!!), John Malkovich, and Emily Blunt.


The cast of “The Great Buck Howard” on the night of the premiere I attended (image source)

As stated at the beginning of this post, Colin Hanks was very personable and friendly. I unfortunately did not get to talk with Emily Blunt (Who knew her career would skyrocket since then? Or that she would end up marrying my TV boyfriend?), but I definitely enjoyed meeting Tom Hanks, who was nothing like I had imagined. Based on his film roles, I had expected a goofy-in-a-charming-way personality. But he was an extremely gregarious man whose booming laughter would fill an entire room. He clearly loved being the center of attention and you can just feel his charisma lighting up everyone and everything around him.

But the biggest surprise was John Malkovich. I thought that he would be an eccentric, slightly crazy fella, just like the roles for which is most famous. But in real life, he was extremely polite and dignified, well-spoken and a bit reserved. He actually left the party early to go home to his wife!

The next, and last celebrity sighting I had was director Spike Lee. I had always seen him at his usual courtside seat at Knicks games, but I have never seen him up-close, until last summer, when J and I practically walked into him on a sidewalk in SoHo.


(image source)

And for once, my perception of him was right on target. He was lively, energetic, and talking about — what else? — the upcoming NBA Playoffs and how much he despised Boston.

Have you met any celebrities? Were they different from what you expected, or were they exactly as you had imagined them?

15 Responses to “Celebrity Sightings and Meetings”

  1. T:

    In LA run into them occasionally, usually i dont even notice but someone points them out to me, so who knows how often i have.

    best was Bob Saget hitting on drunk UCLA girls after a bar closed in Westwood, until someone started asking him his famous line from Half Baked

  2. In high school, I met the band Blue October. I have no idea what they were like, because I was too busy internally freaking out about HOW COOL IT WAS TO MEET FAMOUS PEOPLE AAAAAH. #fail

    • Your comment reminded me that I left one person off the list! In elementary school, I met Carly Simon and even got a hug and an autograph from her…but I had NO idea who she was at the time. So I guess that one doesn’t really count?

    • Sara:

      I have met them too and actually got to sit down and talk w Justin about his lyrical inspirations. He truly draws from a hard life of experiance. Great group of guys. I always look forward to seeing them when they come back to northern michigan every fall… Matt’s family lives there. I used to work w Matt’s mom Linda, super nice family. I’m glad they’ve had as much success as they’ve had, and maintained their down to earth personalities. Great w their fans! Blue October fan forever!

  3. The only celebrity I’ve met is Chris Carrabba, the lead singer of Dashboard Confessional (which really isn’t a band most people have heard of, so I don’t know if I’d even really consider him a celebrity). He’s incredibly nice in person and even gave me a guitar pick out of his wallet because he felt so bad that I didn’t have something for him to autograph for me!

  4. I’m so jealous. I’ve never met a celebrity and Tom Hanks is one of my all time faves!

  5. So fun!! I would just kill to meet Tom Hanks. He’s probably my favorite actor of all time! I met Ben Kingsley at a school event (I was a film student) and a friend of mine brought up his friendship with Roman Polanski…Ben Kingsley went craaazy, defending Polanski as a great guy, etc. I just wasn’t sure what to think after that.

    I met a few celebs while interning in LA, but most notable was my phone conversation with Don Cheadle. Here’s a hint: he was SO MEAN to me! It was my first day interning/answering phones and I was a bit flustered when he said it was him, but really! He didn’t have to be so mean!

    Haha it seems like you’ve had good experiences with celebrities!!

  6. I’ve seen Chase Crawford out in Dallas a few times, and he was always very nice and laid back. But, I haven’t had too many celebrity sightings. I guess Austin isn’t where all the stars hang out. :)

  7. I met Michelle Pfeiffer. She was really skinny (like might have an eating disorder skinny) and much more wrinkled/sallow than I had imagined. Also much shorter (but I think that’s typical?). She was out with her family, so not glammed up: I suppose lighting and makeup makes a huge difference.

  8. Soooooooooo jealous. I love Colin and Tom Hanks. It would be a dream come true to meet them.

    I’ve met a handful of musicians, mostly boyband-type people, but no actors. There don’t seem to be many opportunities to meet actors in Wisconsin except for maybe when they filmed Transformers 3 here. I did hear of one friend of a friend meeting Patrick Dempsey then.

  9. Oh I take that back. When my family was on vacation in LA 10 years ago, I watched my mom meet Helen Hunt because I was too nervous to go talk to her.

  10. Sorry, last comment! An old coworker of mine actually met Johnny Depp when he filmed Public Enemies in Wisconsin. So that’s neat. I guess there are few and far between opportunities here.

  11. My only true “celebrity meeting” is an amusing and embarrassing story. I once met James Madio (from Band of Brothers, USA High, Hook etc.) in Germany. Sorta met him. I was living there at the time (I worked for the DOD as a civilian in Germany) and I was at the military post exchange. There was a guy in front of me that I KNEW from SOMEWHERE! He kept turning around and smiling at me. He finally winked at me and then I got annoyed. I wasn’t married or anything, but this was during my party phase and I figured I had seen him at a club a few times or something. So I ignored him from then on. When I got to the register the cashier was showing another employee how he had gotten his autograph and blah blah blah. So I asked who he was. The cashier looked at me like I was crazy and said, “James Madio, from Band of Brothers. Him and a few of the others are touring Germany where a lot of the action in the film took place.” (I lived near Nuremburg) My jaw dropped. Figures.

  12. I love John Malkovich & find him to be incredibly hot :)

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