Friday, January 9, 2009

Diary Of A Squealing Mad Fan Girl...

As a member of the entertainment news media, I am often given the opportunity to attend special events and press junkets, at which I sit down with actors, writers, directors, and producers in order to pick their brains on the process and experience of shooting whatever latest project they are currently promoting. The most recent example of this was the junket for My Bloody Valentine 3D. My editor sent me the press release right before I left for New York for the holiday break, and I took it as an extremely good sign-- a little silver lining, if you will-- to get my butt back to LA and make sure I was in that hotel on January 10th sitting across from none other than one Mr. Jensen Ackles. In fact, that was the whole reason I was willing to see the gimmicky slasher flick in the first place. Then earlier this week, just as I was gearing up to cram as many questions and subtle innuendoes into our five or six minute conversation, I got an email from the publicist for the film explaining that sadly, Jensen had to back out due to scheduling conflicts. Suddenly, I wanted to back out, too! Instead, Jensen would only be making three appearances on talk shows based in LA: Chelsea Lately, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Bonnie Hunt Show.

Okay, you know how in cartoons whenever something shocking is seen, the animated bunny or bear or whatever slams in place, widens his or her eyes, and then skids backwards to revisit whatever the thing was that caught his or her attention in the first place? Well, my eyes did just that. My friend Margo had just been to Chelsea Lately; surely she knows someone over there who can get me in last minute? "Oh wait," my thoughts began to race, "is that a live show? Or does it tape same day, but earlier in the day, or even the day before? I know Jimmy Kimmel is live." I checked my watch. It was just after noon; I had plenty of time to try and find the phone number for the guy I know who works over there! But The Bonnie Hunt Show? One of my good friends from college, Mikah, just took a position there, and surely he must have seen my future husband's name pop up on the talent booking board... why hadn't he said anything? For once, instead of obsess over the unknown, I did the sensible thing and texted him to ask if I could come on down.

A long exchange later, Mikah assured me if I could get to Culver Studios by two when the show would tape, I could see Jensen sitting on a couch only mere feet from my very being. I was gone from the valley so fast my shoes were left behind-- again, just like in cartoons!

Bonnie had other guests that day-- and good ones, too: Jane Kaczmarek, Dr. Ian Smith, and Tom Virtue, who was participating in a skit at the top of the show-- but of course all I could see was Jensen, who was in the fourth act and would be showing a clip from the movie I had already screened the previous evening. Suddenly I was looking forward to being able to share that special connection with Jensen: not even Bonnie herself had seen the film yet.

The warm-up guy went through the audience before the show began, asking people where they were from and for those from out of town, who the one celebrity they hoped to run into while in LA was. One woman came from Germany, and all she wanted was to see Jensen. Well, she certainly came on the right day! And she certainly knew about this ahead of time; there is really something to be said for reading message boards and fan group bulletins. The "average Janes" who maintain those are often much more thorough than those actually in the media-- because they have something personal invested in it.

Most of the audience appeared to be there for Jensen; some came from his own hometown of Dallas, and others screamed really loudly when he spoke of Supernatural. Suddenly, I wished even more that the Human Interest ladies hadn't passed over my "I want to be reunited with..." entry, in which I spoke of Jensen, detailing how we met ten years ago and lost touch over the years, as he moved out of daytime and into teen melodrama. I didn't want to just be among these women: I wanted to be their leader.

Jensen looked super trim and tan, as if he went on a crash diet after the holidays, but he was warm and inviting in his big winter sweater. He and Bonnie chatted about splitting his time between LA and Vancouver, where he shoots Supernatural, as well as spending time with his family over the holidays. He told a great story about his parents selling his childhood home this past year and how they only moved seven miles away, and he made the audience sigh in a collective "awww" when describing the best gift he ever got: a letter a month from his nephew Logan while he was away on filming, complete with photos of the happenings and growings in his young life. Jensen may star alongside demons and killers, but he is just a big softie at heart!

Of course he spoke about the film and what it was like to take on such a scary role, but I could barely hear him because I was so enthralled in just staring at him, so I guess I'll have to snag the clip online or on NBC later... his seven minute segment was full of laughter, though, and afterwards he signed a hockey jersey and the back of his director's chair to auction off for Bonnie's Basement. He took a quick pitstop at the Craft Services table before heading out to the My Bloody Valentine premiere at Mann Chinese and then the Jimmy Kimmel show.

In the few hours between taping one and taping two, I managed to locate my other contact's number, and even though my cell phone was blinking it's Battery is at 10% message at me, it held itself together in order for everything to get coordinated for me to attend that taping, as well. Yes, Krueger, I literally followed him around all day!

Now it was oddly tougher to get down to Hollywood at dinnertime than it had been to get into Culver City in the middle of the afternoon, probably because the streets around Hollywood & Highland had been roped off for the premiere, and I was practically white knuckling it when I finally squeezed into a compact space in the underground parking lot, but though I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast that morning, I zipped across the street with pep and ease and made it into the studio with just minutes to spare, nearly giddy just to have just another seven minutes in a crowded room with the guy. Sure, it can't hold a candle to the experience of interviewing him one-on-one in a junket style setting (where my last question would be "want to go upstairs?" since the event is held in a hotel, after all ;) ), but it would do.

Slightly overwhelmed from the crazy developments of my day, I grinned wildly under the bright lights, watching Jensen once again joke and laugh and generally just be his usual adorable, charming self. This time I didn't get to watch him wander around backstage or pass hi
m in the hall and offer a simple smile, making him think I am just another member of the production team and not some over eager fan, trying to "steal a moment"... even though that is probably what I will always be.

Press events can be nice, but there is nothing like experiencing your favorite celebrities among others who are just as like-minded as you!

Jimmy Kimmel Live aired live (well, at least to the east coast) last night, but Jensen's Bonnie Hunt episode airs today; check your local listings. Jensen on Chelsea Handler's show will also air tonight, but sadly I never found a way into that one, so I have nothing to report... My Bloody Valentine hits 3D and select 2D theaters next Friday, the 16th. For my full review of the film, feel free to check out next weekend!
"Jensen & Me, Through The Years" Photos (C)opyright Danielle Turchiano 1998-2008


Elisabeth said...

Thats QUITE the journey :D

I was at the Jimmy Kimmel taping and afterwards at the MBV red carpet.

That man is soo in his element ;D

Eka said...

Glad you like Jensen and that you know him so long.
I love the guy and happy to read smth. good about him.