Monday, October 24, 2011

Chris attended the screening of DGITW in NJ. Read her story --

Photo courtesy of Chris Carr

I had the privilege of attending a screening of “Don’t Go In The Woods” at the Tribeca Film Festival in Westfield, NJ this weekend. It was so much more than a trip to the movies.

I’m a huge Vincent D’onofrio fan, and this film was his directorial debut. He was scheduled to participate in a Q and A at the end of the film, and so I scheduled this 2.5 hour trip to New Jersey with my husband with the hope I’d be a part of the Q. If it had been anyone else but Vincent, the trip would have been cancelled. I had kneecap realignment surgery a few days before the trip and my husband tried to talk me out of it. But after carefully reviewing my doctor’s discharge instructions, I found no prohibitions on film festivals or celebrity crush pursuits. And so we rented a wheelchair and drove to a hotel in New Jersey.

We arrived at the theater 30 minutes early as instructed. My hope was if we got there early, we’d get some prime seats toward the front of the theater. Unfortunately, the only spot in the theater that would accommodate the wheelchair was in the very back, next to the lighting equipment and camera tripods being used by the film festival staff. My visions of dazzling Vincent from a few rows away were replaced by visions of me being part of the AV equipment.

A few minutes before the film was scheduled to begin, my husband, as is his habit, needed to use the men’s room. Upon his return, he was beaming. “He’s out there, RIGHT NOW!” he said. (My husband is also a big fan of Vincent) Oblivious to the fact that I was physically unable to jump out of my seat and go see for myself, my husband continued. “Boy, he really IS a good looking man!” I calmly pointed out the torture my husband was putting me through with this play-by-play of a dream I could not be a part of, and he quietly took his seat.

Some commotion began at the entrance of the theater, which my wheelchair was within a few feet of. The silhouette is unmistakable, so I knew right away he was there, within arms reach. He walked in and stood at the back of the theater waiting for his introduction. I grabbed my flipcam and took some candid footage. Anyone viewing this video would be struck by how he interacts with the people around him. This is a man who appreciates others, who does not see himself as the center of the universe. He’s a toucher, and the people he was with were lucky enough to get a hug, a handshake, a hand on the shoulder. I was also struck at how happy he seemed to be there. It was a half-full suburban movie theater but he was there to promote his movie with those he made the movie with. I got a sense he was there for them. On a Saturday night. In Westfield, NJ. What a guy.

He was introduced, made some opening remarks, and thanked everyone for coming. He had to walk past me again on the way out and the urge to reach out and just touch a leg as he went by was tremendous. I’m sure his nature as a toucher wouldn’t have extended to a grope from a stranger so I kept my hands to myself. And the movie began.

Here’s the hard part. I love Vincent and will be open minded about anything he’s a part of because I have so much respect for what he’s done over the course of his career. But I haven’t loved everything he’s done. It would be disingenuous to say otherwise. I didn’t love this movie. To be fair, I’m not a slasher movie person. The last slasher movie I saw was Halloween II when my college boyfriend made me go 30 years ago. My eyes were closed through most of that movie…I just don’t enjoy the blood and guts, so the chances of me raving about DGITW were slim. I can say two things: 1) The music was good, and 2) I appreciate the fact that there were no real gratuitous sex scenes, which must have taken some restraint given the cast of young lovelies. I hate when directors do that.

Now on to the Q and A. I could have asked question after question but I limited myself (or they limited me) to two. My first question was about his choice to go with a cast of mostly non-actors, given his own background. His answer, and I’m summarizing, was he wanted the lines to come out flat…this is how slasher movies are supposed to be. Too much emphasis on how things are said will take away from the overall effect you’re going for in a movie like this. Good answer, I thought.

My second question was basically what took him so long to start directing? He gave a very insightful answer to this one as well. Again, summarizing, he said as he’s changed and grown as a man, his focus has shifted from just acting to other things, like his family. Directing is one of the things he’s become more open to during this growth. He’ll direct again “if they let me.” I hope “they” him.

Once the Q and A ended, Vincent again had to walk past me. I had planned for this, or so I thought. I am entered in an ESPN Fantasy Football contest with about 3,000 other people where one of the prizes is a Full Metal Jacket DVD autographed by Vincent. (My guess is the sponsors of the contest, the Ron and Fez Sportsbook, must have had Vincent on as a guest, had him sign some stuff, and then didn’t know what to do with it…just speculating here.) I love football and I love Vincent so this seemed meant to be. I brought a copy of FMJ with me for him to sign so it wouldn’t matter if I won or not. (Sadly, I was in 631st place as of Saturday night, so I had no chance of winning the signed DVD.)

Unfortunately, the one thing that didn’t get packed was a sharpie that would work on a DVD case. As he was approaching, I frantically looked for a writing instrument that would work…nothing did. I improvised by folding up the hotel receipt and stuffing in the brackets on the inside of the DVD…voila, a plain piece of paper he could sign that looked like it was part of the DVD case. I was able to get his attention on his way out, explained my predicament with the DVD and the fantasy football contest way too fast, and he graciously agreed to sign…even asked me my name and how to spell it. I’m sure he thinks I’m a nutcase but that’s okay. Hey, I didn’t grope him when I totally could have. I give myself a lot of credit for that. My husband stuck out his hand and said “Great movie!” (My husband does love a good slasher movie and he was sincere.) Vincent responded with a handshake and a thanks.

He retreated to the theater lobby for some photos. The lobby is small, and the crowd had started to disperse, so I had a chance to get some more video and pics. I don’t know why, but I think my favorite part of the evening came as he was leaving. My husband was pushing my wheelchair right behind him. He saw we were behind him and kept the door open for us. I guess most decent people would have done the same, but it still felt awesome. Vincent did something nice for me. For me. How cool is that?

I must give my husband all kinds of credit here. He did so much more than humor me on this adventure. He went way beyond what most husbands would have done. When I thanked him in the car on the way back to the hotel he just said “Hey, he shook my hand! It was totally worth it!” Yes, it was totally worth it.

Photo courtesy of Chris Carr

Thanks for sharing it with us Chris !


havers said...

Oh, what an awesome report. Thanks for sharing Chris.

T'Jara said...

Very, very sweet :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Chris and thanks for sharing your experience.

We took TWO pens to Joe's Pub last July, both of them 'tested' and working the previous night. Gave one to Vincent to sign something. It refused to work. Gave him the other one. That was having none of it either..... I guess they were as overwhelmed by him as the rest of us ;0)

Rose said...

Chris how great, what a fun evening. I hope you are taking it easy and things are getting better for you after the surgery. Sure enjoyed reading this.

mauigirl said...

What an awesome experience! I could feel your excitement while reading your account. He really is a very nice man, isn't he? Oh yeah, and unbelievably HANDSOME!!!
Thanks for sharing.

Sandy said...

Thank You Chris. So glad you gotto go even tho you were ina wheelchair. He seems like such a nice man to everyone. How on earth he ever got a reputation from some people as being just the opposite, I sure don't understand. Good luck in your recovery. So glad your hubby enjoyed the evening too. And I would have kept my eyesm closed too during the film. I do not like horror movies either, but would definitely be happy to sit thru it if Vincent was there. Thanks againm for sharing the candid videos.

krismiss said...

What a great story. Thanks for sharing it, Chris. You're a really good writer, by the way. A few of the things you said kind of reminded me of when I met Vincent a year and a half ago. My husband and I went to Utah to go to one of his charity events for Heroes Help (we added in snowboarding too - the perfect trip!). At one point during the event, there was a photo op for everyone that wanted to take a picture with Vincent.

When it was my turn, I walked right up to him and confidently held out my hand to shake his. He shook my hand and stared politely at me as I introduced myself and my husband. I am certain, though, that he did not hear what I was saying because 1) it was really loud in there, and 2) I'm very vertically challenged, so I was way too far away from his hear for him to actually hear me- hahaha.

A couple months earlier, a friend of mine had been at an event of his over on the East Coast. She had received his autograph and exchanged a few pleasantries, but later she saw others getting a hug and was too embarrassed to request one. So as soon as I finished my unheard introduction, my husband walked right up to him and asked, "Can you do me a favor?" Vincent responded, "Sure," which I have always thought was a brave answer. So my husband asked, "Can you give her a hug?" AND HE DID! He is so big! And as my husband said, he looks exactly in person like he does on TV.

Vincent is indeed a kind and warm person. And my husband also went above and beyond what most husbands would do. :)

vikeau said...

Chris I saw you in the back on my way out after the movie(really had to pee--TMI I know) getting something signed. You were positively glowing in the dark there. I was totally speechless but did manage to get a picture with Vincent(via pantamime). Your account of the evening was spot on and well written by the way. At least we know how to pick our celebrity crushes. Where were you coming from that it took 2.5 hours to get to Westfield?

Chris said...

I was coming from Manchester, CT. I can't believe I didn't even think to ask to get a picture WITH him. Hopefully there will be another opportunity at some point...when I'm not so disabled. What is pantamime?

Chris said...

And me glowing was probably due at least in part to the gin and tonic I had at the bar around the corner before the movie.

vikeau said...

Pantamime is when you act something out. Like charades. My lips may have been moving but no sound was coming out. I literally was unable to speak. Although I'm guessing that the glow that you had was that 150 watt smile as Vincent was talking to you. Wow what a hike from Manchester, Ct. however well worth it I'm sure. If I ever have another opportunity to see Vincent at a similar event, my goal is going to be to say "Hello"--out loud.

Chris said...

Sometimes silence is better. I made sounds...words I think...but he looked at me like he had no idea what I was talking about. I'd have been better off with a seductive smile and a wink.

Regina Caschetto said...

Dear Chris-
What a great account of your spectacular evening. Nice to meet other fans from CT. I was born in Bridgeport but up until two years ago I was living in Stratford. Due to leg problems also, I am now living in a rehab facility way out in Kent, CT. So close to New York state, that most of the employees live in New York. Wanted to be closer to home, but no facility available. A hug from Vincent-how fantastic. If you never get to see him in person again, you will always have these great memories. And by the way, tell your husband what a great guy he is.

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List of films in production.

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s. Vincent....Al Anderson


A story about the early life of Tennessee Williams

Directed by James Franco
Vincent D'Onofrio, Jacob Loeb

"American Falls" - [TBA]

In a rural town in Southern Idaho, the Suzukis, a Japanese American family, run a small motel. One night they get a strange visitor who sports ‘city’ clothes who turns out to be the first African-American man that Toru Suzuki’s children have ever seen. Yoshiko takes it upon herself to solve the mystery about this man, especially when 2 police officers come knocking on their door.

Short film produced by Erika Hampson.
Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Foster.

'Purgatory' [TBA]

'Purgatory' [TBA]
Tagline: In the Wild West a lot of blood was spilled... but it didn't go to waste. Vincent....Dallas Stoudenmire

"A Fall From Grace" [TBA]

Detective Michael Tabb knows the city of St. Louis inside and out. He has felt its true heart, as much as its dark underbelly: but he does not know who, in both the dark and light - is taking the lives of young girls.

Director: Jennifer Lynch
Producer/Writer ...Eric Wilkinson

Vincent D'Onofrio ....George Lawson (GRACE's father)
Tim Roth.......Detective Tabb

Filming in St Louis - TBA

"Supreme Ruler" [TBA]

A man campaigns to become the leader of the Buffalo lodge.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Hank Dory
Ron Livingston as Steve
Marcia Gay Harden as Nancy

"The Monster Next Door" [TBA]

"The Monster Next Door" - Comedy Horror

Executive Produced by Dennis Johnson, Melanie Mohlman Produced by Eric Wilkinson, David Michaels
Written by Jim Robbins
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

Cast: Vincent D'Onofrio, Bill Pullman, French Stewart, Bill Moseley

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]
Vincent......Harvey Weinstein

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