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TIFF ’09: return of the stalkers

September 14, 2009


I like staring at empty hotel doors as much as the next crazy stalker person, but c’mon

As regular as a parole board hearing, each and every Fall Hollywood celebrities, both A and B, come to Toronto for a week of film-festing. But not far behind them (actually, more likely well in advance of them) descend the hoards of celebrity stalkers.

Referring to themselves as “celebrity spotters”, this pleasant euphemism doesn’t hide the fact that these crazed fans will spend hours, if not days, outside of Roy Thomson Hall or various posh Yorkville hotels just for the slight chance of catching a glimpse of somebody, anybody, that’s been in a movie. Be it Michael Douglas or Michael Dudikoff (who?), it doesn’t matter. These stalkers will either a) blankly stare, b) stare and take photos, usually of themselves in front of the celebrities c) strike up a conversation (“Umm, I really liked you in that movie you did. Can’t remember the name of it but it was awesome.”) or d) all of the above.


Don’t get me wrong. Stalking is great, and it’s something I’d like to do more of if it wasn’t for such things like “restraining orders” and “pepper spray”. But it just seems that it hits an all-time low come TIFF.

Case in point. In Yorkville on TIFF opening weekend the dude that plays the rock star that has the number one Christmas song in the movie Love Actually (ya, I have no idea either) was cruising around Yorkville until a group of girls approached him asking for pics and autographs. He was glad to oblige them, his celebrity ego in need of a boost after walking around in the open and having no one recognize him, but as soon as he left this was overheard:

Girl one: Who was that?
Girl two: I have no idea but at least I got his autograph.

Either it’s 1989 and the New Kids are in town, or a fancy car with tinted windows just drove up

In front of the Hazelton Hotel, which is definitely the most popular stalk spot, amidst the cries of one young boy asking his mother, in vain “Can we please go home, we’ve been here all day?” I was able to overhear a few more insightful conversations.

Again between two 20-something females, when one asked the other “who is supposed to be coming out?” The other simply replied, “I don’t know, but I bet they’re cool.”

Just then a group of 10 stalkers ran screaming down the middle of the street, weaving in and out of traffic in pursuit of what was either a Jonas brother in the back of a dark tinted car, or nobody in the back of a dark tinted car. Either way, it was definitely tinted.

Perhaps my favourite conversation of the day though was between two couples in their late-30s, the men in collared shirts undone to their chests and tight jeans with flares, the women with so much botox their lips almost stuck out further than their noses.

“I think Paris Hilton just came out,” one set of lips said to the other (and it wasn’t Paris, or anybody really. The doorman simply put his hand on the door handle like he was about to open it, causing a stir of anticipation in the crowd).

“Really?” the other replied, her voice sounding excited, her face still perfectly tight. “That’s cool. I love her.”

The truly sad part? She wasn’t kidding.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2009 2:24 pm

    TIFF seems to be a really being cult of personality this year. So much emphasis on in-and-out celebs and the parties instead of the films themselves…

  2. Simon permalink*
    September 14, 2009 4:00 pm

    I was at Yonge/Dundas sq. last night and saw the cast of “Whip It”, so Drew Barrymore, Eve, Ellen Page et al.

    People were going nuts. Like, literally climbing over each other to get a photo. I never understood the appeal of celeb stalking. They’re just … people.

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