Nine Celebrities I’ve Been Photographed With

Me and Christina Ricci

Behind every photo is a story, and this list isn't so much about "who I know" - for really, I don't know any of these people; I was simply in the same physical space as they were for an hour or so - but about the randomness of living in Los Angeles and of attending the occasional film festival. In either situation, you'll never know who you'll run into... and wherever there's a celebrity, a camera can't be far behind.

  1. Christina Ricci, 2003. I was a guest at the Norwegian International Film Festival in 2003, and after two long, sleepless flights, was invited to attend a formal dinner with all the other guests - this, after being awake for well over twenty hours. To my surprise, Christina Ricci was also a guest of the festival, and sat across the table from me at dinner. After the meal, a picture was in order.
  2. Ludivine Sagnier, 2003. French sexpot actress is famous in her home country and best known for the art house hit Swimming Pool in the US. She too was a guest in Norway. I had to get a photo with her because just two weeks earlier, my future wife Miki and I went to see Swimming Pool and that was the day we got back together. In a weird way, Ludivine is partly responsible for that. So imagine what a kick it was to meet her in person so soon. (By the way, the photo of me and Ludivine was taken by Christina Ricci. The photo of me and Christina Ricci was taken by Ludivine.)
  3. Jason Biggs, 2003. The other big (or bigg) Hollywood actor at the Norwegian Film Festival, Jason Biggs was promoting a film he was in with Christina Ricci as well as the third American Pie movie (imagine that, playing at a film festival!). I promise this is the last photo you will see of me in this orange shirt. It was all on the same night.
  4. Vilmos Zsigmond, 2006. Film festivals really are the best places to meet notable show biz folk. This was at HATCHfest in Bozeman, Montana. Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond has that valuable sort of celebrity, where he's got money, respect and awards (including an Oscar for shooting Close Encounters of the Third Kind), but can walk down the street unrecognized. We were both part of a cinematography panel, which is pretty insane when you think about it. An Oscar winning DP next to a guy who doesn't know an aperture from a hole in the ground.
  5. Anthony Mackie, 2006. Again in Bozeman. The story behind this photo is that Mackie, an up-and-coming actor who I suspect could be quite famous very soon, was hanging out at one of HATCHfest's many parties and was quite amused to see a dorky white college student in a fluffy "pimp" vest. He asked me to take a photo of him and the student, and then Mackie requested that I put on the vest for another photo. I obliged.
  6. Susannah Hoffs, 1993. We travel back in time, before all this film festival nonsense, back to an era where it was still uncool to be a singer from a big '80s band. There was an AIDS benefit at the Virgin Megastore in West Hollywood, and as I had some time to kill before seeing a movie next door, I wandered in, noticed that the former Bangle was signing autographs and Polaroids in exchange for $5 for AIDS charities, and thought, "Why not?" At the last second, I leaned in and put my arm around Ms. Hoffs, apparently to the chagrin of the bodyguard-like dude in the background.
  7. Shonen Knife, 1993. In the early '90s, it wasn't uncommon for hip bands to make in-store appearances at the late lamented Aron's Records in Hollywood. The giant Amoeba Records, which put Aron's out of business, hosts in-stores now - but I bet they don't let you get a free Polaroid of yourself with any of the bands. I believe Japanese pop-rock trio Shonen Knife - an old favorite of Kurt Cobain's - is still active, but not with their original lineup, seen here.
  8. Tsai Ming Liang, 1998. Only the nerdiest of film nerds will be impressed by this. Tsai Ming Liang is one of Taiwan's most important filmmakers. I'm a fan of his work, but not many outside of international film festivals get a chance to see it. This was at a university in Hong Kong, where Tsai was artist-in-residence during my two weeks there, where I was helping students and giving lectures. I got to "interview" Tsai, with an interpreter, and that was pretty cool.
  9. Tom Sizemore, 2006. I'm weirdly proud of the fact that Miki and I live in the former home of substance-abusing thespian Tom Sizemore, who had a great career in the '90s, co-starring in Saving Private Ryan, Heat, Natural Born Killers, True Romance, and many other films. Drugs, violence, and the ill-fated decision to date Heidi Fleiss forever stained Sizemore's career, but one thing's for sure: He sure loves to come back to visit his old house, where he lived from 1990 to 1995. I was home during a surprise visit from Tom late last year, during a sober period for the actor, and he regaled me with fascinating stories of his time here. He was happy to pose for a photo or two.