Date of meeting: June 14, 2003
Place: Rosemont, Ill. Event: Flashback Weekend
My Brad Experience
All I can say is: Wow. I mean, Wow. The man is an angel. A prince.
I woke up at 9:30 in the morning and jumped into the shower to get ready to see Brad Dourif, all the while going through what I would say to him and how brilliant I would sound. Knowing, mind you, full well, that I would, regardless, make a complete fool of myself. I had the directions in my hand and I met my friend and we drove. It went swimmingly. No wrong turns, no confusion as to where the hotel was, or the parking. Then we walked into the hotel and asked someone where to go. Everyone was very helpful. We passed the long line for Freddy Krueger and got our wristbands. We walked into the dealer room and there he was. I froze. There was no line! I didn’t even have time to gather my thoughts from the shock of just seeing him and my friend was dragging me over. I remember how my heart was pounding with giddiness and then he looked up and smiled. I melted. I had to smile back! I handed him my Death Machine DVD and asked if he would sign it and he said he would with great enthusiasm. I smiled even more. Then I asked if he would sign two other photos for me and he asked for my name.
I paid for the photos and watched him sign and then, I held my breath and spit out the words. “Would you mind awfully taking a picture with me?” I bit my lip and he smiled again. “Sure! Come round.” And he waved me behind the table, but not before he had grabbed his own camera and snapped a picture of me! He smiled at me as if to say “gotcha” and then put his arm around me and pulled me close for the picture. I must admit, I was in a daze. I made my friend take, like, five pictures just to make sure at least one would come out right. Then, I turned to Brad Dourif and he held out his hand and thanked me for coming. I smiled and nodded and found the courage to speak. I told him I thought he was absolutely wonderful in Istanbul and that it was my favorite film. He was ecstatic! He smiled even wider than he had before and his brilliant blue eyes smiled too. “That’s great!” He said as though he were impressed. “It’s rare when anyone knows that movie.” I told him that it was one of his best movies and that I was really glad to have met him. Then, I moved aside so the new person behind me could have their turn. My friend lead me away, I had a brain loss for the moment, and then we looked around at the other booths.
After we ate and had walked back to the hotel, we took a shuttle bus to the PickWick theatre. There was going to be a viewing of Two Towers and then Mr. Dourif was going to speak. I must admit, though I LOVE the movie, it seemed three times as long, knowing that I had Mr. Dourif waiting to speak at the end of it. When he came out, he sat down and asked for questions rather than him just giving and actors spiel. Our crowd was a bit shy and he joked that being in a dark room made us tired. One person asked what his favorite, most exciting moment was in acting and Mr. Dourif went on to describe driving to Edoras at 3:30 in the morning and the most breathtaking scene he had ever seen. He spoke so vividly and almost with a passion. It was obvious that he was being sincere and I swear, it was very moving to hear someone famous appreciate nature and life that way. He answered many other questions about acting and working with Peter Jackson, but what I found most fascinating was his explanation of Grima Wormtongue’s tear at the sight of Saruman’s army. “He is the only man who can see the horror that was about to ensue. He was the only character who could truly feel and make the audience feel because he had a connection with men, being a man himself. It was more of a ‘G-d, what have I done?’ tear. He feels the guilt and the horror of what’s to come” (That was paraphrased, hard to remember now, hours later.) I thought that a very interesting insight into Grima’s character, as he is my favorite LOTR character.
After all the questions were answered, and I had run out of film from being snap-happy, we went outside to wait for the shuttle bus. No one else was waiting with us and we were kind of bored. About ten minutes later, the bus pulled up and the driver got out and went into the building. My friend and I looked at each other, wondering if we could get on or not when who should come walking up but Mr. Dourif and his agent!! His agent actually asked me if this bus went back the hotel. I was caught unaware once more and I tried to be witty by saying “I hope so,” and smiling, but I just felt stupid. The agent nodded and my friend, being the jerk that he is, prodded me and nodded to Mr. Dourif. I shook my head ‘no’, I did not want to bother the man. He was done for the day and probably wanted to relax for the evening. And what should my friend do but walk up to Mr. Dourif, whisper something and then point to me! I was horror stricken! I said, “What are you saying about me?” And then I took a step closer and looked apologetically at Mr. Dourif. “He’s getting me into trouble,” I explained and smiled lamely. He shook his head. “No! No trouble,” And again he waved me over. I took two steps and felt stupid. Tongue-tied. My friend said, “She’s very shy.” I glared at him, and he smiled at me. Jerk. But, Mr. Dourif’s agent smiled and said “I’m shy, too.” I nodded and we all fell silent. I felt stupid and out of place, but, Mr. Dourif, being the gentleman he is, tried to make conversation. He asked if we had seen both Lord of the Rings movies and if we had seen the extended version and if we liked it better. I said ‘yes’ emphatically to all of the above and asked if there was more extended in the second movie than the first. “Yes, the cutting of this movie was just terrible. A lot of it doesn’t make sense. Especially between Arwen and . . .Strider. Was he making out with a horse?” I laughed and told him that some of it made sense to me because I had read the books and he nodded. He also mentioned how the importance of Rohan in Sauron’s plan wasn’t shown in the film and is a major flaw. “It’s the cavalry.” He said. Cavalry is important in warfare and must therefore be eliminated, hence Sauron’s attempt to destroy Rohan. I nodded my head “Ohhh.” I asked him about his make-up as well. He said that he had to wear a prosthetic nose and he wore a wig and that his facial make-up took no less than an hour and forty five minutes (the fastest it had been done). The driver came back with drinks for the agent and Mr. Dourif and then pointed to a car that had pulled up unnoticed. Mr. Dourif took my hand and shook it. “It was great talking with you!” And I said “Thank you so much!” And then he walked away and got in the car and left. My friend and I boarded the bus. We were the only two on the bus and so we talked with the driver. Incidently, he apologized for making us wait and I practically shouted “No problem!” My friend laughed and explained that I was able to talk with Mr. Dourif a little extra than other people at the convention.
And so, that is how my perfect day went. Unfortunately, my camera did not work and I have no pictures, but I think I'll always remember this experience. The man is an angel. A prince.