Imagine sitting in a massive hall, listening to two phenomenal actors – John Rhys-Davies and Sean Astin, specifically – talk about everything from their acting process, to their inspiration, to favorite stories from past projects, to intellectual topics like Middle Eastern characters in fiction and whether Britain should remain in the European Union. Then, imagine the joy of hearing them recite one of the key lines from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (with Astin filling in for Harrison Ford) – namely, “They’re digging in the wrong place!” And the entire hall goes nuts.
That was basically my experience with Ottawa Comic Con this year. Despite some disappointments, such as Alan Tudyk not being able to attend in full due to multiple issues with flights, the con as a whole was a blast. I already mentioned in my last post about meeting Rene Auberjonois and getting an Odo bucket drawing. Besides having Mr. Auberjonois and John de Lancie as guests, there were some great attractions to celebrate Star Trek – I got beamed to the Guardian of Forever’s planet! Sort of. On a video. But it was still really cool. And I got the chance to check in with some writers I know who were selling their wares – particular shout-out to Benoit Chartier, whose novel Red Nexus I finally picked up from his booth – which is really neat to do at a big event like Comic Con.
The absolute highlight of the entire weekend came at the very end, though, when I got the chance to see John Rhys-Davies again – this time, to actually meet him and shake his hand (sorry, the photo is slightly blurry):
Kudos to a couple of my friends for convincing me to go over to his booth, since if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to see first hand how genuinely awesome an individual Mr. Rhys-Davies is. Since it was nearing the end of the day on Sunday and his line was super short, he was happy to spend lots of time talking to each person who came up. He came around out of the booth to talk with a guest who happened to be in a wheelchair. Then he came around again to hold a couple’s baby while the mom searched for her camera, saying something like, “They can get ever so heavy, allow me.” He didn’t even care if people were buying autographs or not, and offered to take photos with people for free (if you’ve never been to a con, that’s huge). I got the chance to ask him a couple questions about his previous projects, learned that he broke his back in five places on set once (the guy moves around pretty well considering!) and then he actually took the time to ask what I did, and about my writing.
I know not everybody’s into celebrities, and yes, our society fixates on them more than is healthy sometimes. But actors are creative people, and I like learning from the ones who combine phenomenal talent with keen intelligence and genuine humanity. Going back to my post from a few days ago, that’s the sort of thing that inspires me. It makes me want to go home and not just hone my craft, but also improve myself generally so that one day I can be sitting in front of an audience, bemused at why people are listening to me (since I’m self-deprecating and all). And then maybe surprise a younger creative person by turning out to be just a guy, capable of random acts of kindness and, in the case of Mr. Rhys-Davies, referring to people of all stripes sarcastically as “little bitches” because they pull pranks on him. Like I said, the guy is awesome.