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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




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