Famous Folk Tales
Richard Lautens/Staff Photographer
Here at the Star we cover a lot of celebrities. The IIFA (Bollywood Oscars) and TIFF coverage is testament to that.
Sometimes it can be a great experience, sometimes not so much. Usually we only get a few minutes with the star in a hotel room-somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes typically. In the last couple of weeks I had to shoot two different personalities and had a great time on both.
The first was Isaiaha Mustafa, you know him better as the Old Spice guy. He was in town on a tall ship at Harbourfront promoting a new scent from Old Spice. Typically, they were 1 1/2 hours behind schedule by 1 in the afternoon but sitting on a boat in the harbour is a nice spot to spend some time.
I really didn't like the set up area with the logos and products everywhere so I looked around and found some great anchor ropes at the bow of the boat. When it was my time, I asked him if we could go there, he agreed and I set up a light. I then draped him with 50lbs of dirty anchor rope! He was a good sport about it and really seemed like just one of the guys.
The funny part came when I noticed that the old ropes had deposited all kinds of little fibres and dirt on his Canucks shirt. He was busy holding up ropes and so I started brushing off his very public chiselled chest. It seemed a natural thingh to do but in the middle of it we both had that moment where we looked at each other and it all seemed suddenly so very ackward.
I just looked at him and said that just about any woman in Toronto would trade places with me at that moment.
Just a few days after shooting Isaiaha, I was sent to shoot Mark Strong-a great name by the way.
He was in town promoting the Green Lantern movie. He plays the red faced Sinestro. Strong has been in a million movies and best known for playing intelligent bad guys. Besides being very tall, he was a very nice man. We hit it off as I talked about my son's interest in comic books and knew all about his character.
After a few moments of chatter, I looked at him and I calmly asked if he played 'Mr Nightly' in an old English production of Jane Austin's Emma. He looked as though I just told him I was from another planet. "How in the world did you know that?", he asked me. "That was a thousand years ago".
As chance would have it, my wife-who is an avid Jane Austin fan-came across this old copy of Emma in a bargain bin in a shop just a few days previous and we had watched it the night before! I didn't even know I was to shoot Stong until the next day. Good karma I guess.
Strong was a good guy and liked the shot I set up in the hotel room. He even pointed me to the right PR person who had a secret stash of Sinestro action figures and a cool Green Lantern ring I could take home to my son-that gets full marks in my books.
Richard Lautens/The Toronto Star