OXFORD AND WARWICK
Well it was a quick breakfast as we were due to meet up for a photo with Taron at 10:45 am. My "London"sweatshirt was depilled and freshly vacuumed I was ready for a little meet up with a Kingsman. Met lots of fans in line and found they weren't queeky like Avengers fans but more into classier films and actors. Most had done a lot of research and more than us had learned how to greet him in Welsh.
As I went in Taron looked at me and I introduced myself as Baxter and then I said, "Shwmae". I guess I was the first one because he replied with a rather astonished, OH! I like that he grabbed me wee bum and made sure I was safe. I didn't have a lot of time because we had to join line #2 for a chat and autograph.
Now at last it's noon-ish and we are lined up again for a proper hello. We had brought along a Lego build of all his famous characters from his films plus a bag of Oreos. The Taiwanese girl before us gave him some strange cheese cookies and he the best he could manage was a thanks and that he'd never heard of a cheese cookie before. She didn't speak great English either but he was nice to her. Then I went up and said, "If the Avengers all have their own minifigs then it's time you had your own". To that he said, "Huh....Avengers". He seemed rather excited and gave it a good look and carefully put it in the box. Then I said I heard he liked Oreos to which he replied rather loudly, "I LOVE OREOS!! Much better reaction than the cheese cookies because it was spontaneous and not rehearsed. He grabbed that bag of cookies pretty fast I can tell you. Talked a bit about Eddie the Eagle and the response at the 88 Olympics and Daddy thanked him for all his great films. At this point he wasn't suffering yet from insane jet lag.
Time to bother the folks again at "They Reach"and had a really long talk with the director. He showed us other scenes on his phone and how he'd chosen to light some of the scenes and why. Even explained his colour palette so it was full on 1979's. The attention to detail on costume (Mom in the 60's wearing an apron) were so carefully thought out.
Off to another panel to see Josh Brolin, Zoe Saldana and Lee Pace. Josh Brolin pretty much gave some life advice, don't be like him. Basically an asshole back in the day. He was funny, thoughtful and I think he's come a long way. I was impressed at the effort he put into the show. Zoe is a sci fi nerd and his specially found a niche she could fill. That of any colour of character like blue in Avatar to green in the Avengers. I didn't know Lee, I mean his in Avengers but with all the make up off I didn't recognise him at all. Much better seats, we could actually see the gang sort of.
Now it's Taron's turn and we were in the 2nd row. Poor Taron. He flew in from England on Saturday night for the Sunday show and was flying home tonight. He wanted to see Seattle so just closed his eyes for a nap around 5pm on Saturday and that was it. Fast asleep so he saw nothing. By 4:15 his body wants to go to bed and he's looking severely jet lagged (which he is) and was hurting big time. You can always tell by the eyes. Still he soldiered on. When audience members asked questions and he'd met them at the autograph session he actually remember their names. Who does that? Taron that's who. Ever since his latest movie wrapped (like 6 days ago) he's having nightmares that maybe this crazy dream of the last 5 years is over and he'll never work again. He is genuinely concerned. He said he'd play in any Avengers any Marvel or would love to be asked to do work on the Westend or Broadway. He just really, really, wants to keep working. His hobbies are music (well his Welsh people of course he loves it) but it just discovered Canadian singer Joni Mitchell and was planning to listen to her music on his way home. Nice shout out to the Canadians. HIs hobby is hanging in the pub with his mates (hey he's a British lad in his 20's, that's what they do). I sure hope he gets some new work very, very, soon.
It was all over too fast but what a genuine sweetheart. He might even be cuter than me. But alas the Comic Con had come to an end. Oh he signed a piece of Kingsman original art that we bought and our CD. Anyhoo it was a very, very, over cheesy pizza for dinner and then crashed for the evening. Planning on the underground tour in the morning.
Here's Taron deep in thought, obviously a question he hadn't been asked a lot.
First stop today was the MOPOP (or the Museum of Pop Culture). It's right behind the Space Needle and it's super cool. I mean they got everything from a collection of "The former artist formerly known as Prince", they got Elton John stuff and guitars (so many guitars) and Indiana Jones fedora and jacket and a Gremlin (I could go on but I mean they got it all folks). We spent a solid 2 1/2 hours there and didn't even hit the gift shop for goodness sakes alive. Grabbed a snack and headed back to the Monorail and light rail transit to take us back to the Wamu Centre for Ace Comic Con.
When not bugging Jason (aka Robert Downey Jr) or the cast, director and producer of "They Reach" we could be found in a panel. Today's live panel was a few unknown actors from a little flick called "The Avengers - End Game". Yup it was Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Don Cheadle. I now like Jeremy Renner but Chris is as exciting as his character. Jeremy Renner is a nutball. Then we stayed for the panel for "They Reach". Both excellent.
Quick trip back to the hotel for dinner and then a walk all the way down to Pike's Market and continued down wayyyyy too many stairs to reach the Seattle Great Wheel. Not too long a wait and had our own car or pod or bubbly seat thingy. We weren't supposed to walk around apparently but we spent most of our time switching seats and moving about. Bad us I guess. Still some wonderful views and such a beautiful night. It's exactly 1 mile (not km) from our hotel to the wheel so that's a 2 mile walk after a full day. Not bad for a bunch of stuffies and a couple of oldtimers.
No more driving to Seattle shenanigans for me. No siree! First time on the Clipper....a not so wee passenger ferry with just over 400 souls onboard. A crossing of about 2 hours and 45 minutes and then we arrived in Seattle.
Now the government of Seattle is very very naughty and have granted licenses to those nasty African scammers who practically force you into unmarked vehicles and lock the door until you realise there is no meter and no posted prices. That's right...you're hostage to whatever ridiculous amount you have to pay. I felt like we were LIam Neeson's family so it doesn't just happen in Paris. They take no credit cards and force you to find cash and wait while you head for an ATM (happened to our co-riders). The lovely family got "TAKEN" for $25.00 for what should have been about a $7.00 taxi fare ($10 at most). They were so angry they told leaned in and told us how much they were scammed. At this point we still were hostages. We made certain to talkabout just exactly what we would pay and what would happen if we were charge more (very loudly to each other in the back seat). Still they took us for $15 in what we would later discover was a $7.00 cab ride. Still me olde Dad would have insured that the driver's wrist (or maybe entire arm) would not have been very useful if we were actually held hostage. Just cause me olde Dad is old doesn't mean he's not trained to hurt folks very, very badly if required.
Even hotel porters/valets are in on the scam so order your cab at the front desk, ensure it's an actual cab, licensed and with a meter. Other than that little scam the Hilton Garden Inn had a lovely restaurant, comfy rooms and a decent price. It was about a 10 minute walk to the light rail transit from which you can get to all the major attractions.
After dropping our bags it was off to ACE COMIC CON. Bit of a confusing walk from the light rail "Stadium Station" to the WAMU but we found it. We got there right at opening time, picked up our swag bag of luggage tags, children's toys (given away to regular ticket buyers), a nice ACE blanket, lanyard with Taron Egerton's adorable face on it and our actual tickets.
First stop was the surprise addition of a large Lego display courtesy of SEALUG (the Seattle Lego Users Group). Chatted with them for about an hour. Stopped for some mini corn dog bits with fries (fries were decent) and then onwards. Fantastic evening meeting the cast and crew of a new film called "They Reach". It is on the waitlist for the Toronto Film Festival. The trailer looks pretty good and the director's attention to detail and the art direction and photography is incredible for such a small budget film.
Later another half hour chat with a Disney artist that worked a lot on Frozen. According to him the best Disney attraction anywhere is in San Francisco, the Disney Family Museum. Pulled at his heartstrings. That is now a plan.
Finally (and maybe the highlight) was a Robert Downey Jr impersonator who was so much like RDJ (right down to personality, body movement, voice, smile...everything). Somehow we sort of befriended him and then kept running into him even outside the con. Turns out his boss is a Lego builder like us and that we very likely have met his boss at Brick Can. I don't know how long we talked to him but overall a few hours. It was like hanging with RDJ and he knew every film. His favourite is "Chances Are", same as me olde Mam's. Here's a wee photo of Jason and me. More coming.