Sunday, April 10, 2011

MIPTV in Cannes, 4th April 2011- Meeting John Barrowman and Bill Pullman

When BBC Worldwide announced that John Barrowman and Bill Pullman would come to the MIPTV in Cannes to promote Torchwood: Miracle Day, I thought immediately that this was a great occasion to “accueillir” the Torchwood stars in France. Well, I’m actually not French but I’ve been living here in the South of France for over 20 years and I think that counts a bit. ;) My French friend Cathy, who only lives 40 km from me and whom I first met in London, believe it or not, was also enthusiastic. And as spring had finally started with warm and sunny weather, we decided, instead of going just for a day, to make a short holiday of it. It’s the Côte d’Azur after all! :-)

As MIPTV is a TV dealer fair and purely for professionals, I wrote to BBC Worldwide to ask if there would be any public event where we could see the Torchwood actors, and they answered me that there would be a Welcoming Cocktail with a red carpet appearance of all the stars at the Carlton on Monday. To my utter surprise I got another email from the BBC a few days later, this one from BBC Wales producer Ian Smith who wrote that he was doing a documentary about Torchwood and that he would like to interview us. Cathy and I were both a bit shocked, as English is not our native language and we aren’t used to speak in front of a TV camera. But as we are both Torchwood fans and this was the opportunity to speak about our love for the show, we decided to go for it whatever the outcome would be. lol

We arrived in Cannes on Sunday afternoon and passing by the Croisette and the Palais des Festivals on the way to our holiday residence, we could already see the huge billboard at the Palais’s façade announcing the presence of BBC Worldwide. I have to say, it was the BBC and not Starz that promoted Torchwood in Cannes (and other BBC series including John Barrowman’s Tonight’s The Night). This as a parenthesis for all those who complained that the BBC is not involved enough with this Torchwood production (well, the production team in LA is BBC too).

On Monday we explored Cannes and the Croisette a bit more, and on our way to the Palais des Festivals, we came across none other than Arnold Schwartzenecker who was in Cannes to promote his new series and who stomped along the street in full Terminator mode, followed by a huge swarm of Paparazzi. He left us completely unimpressed as we would have preferred to see JB and BP, but we had to be patient until later in the day. Around midday I got a text message from producer Ian who told us he was at the Palais and would call us a bit later. Meanwhile after a nice break at a café terrace we walked down to the Carlton to watch the evening preparations for the red carpet there, and that was when Ian called me and we decided to meet at the Carlton. It didn’t take long until he arrived with his huge camera and took us across the street to the beach promenade as he wanted to film us with the Mediterranean in the background. (I guess for foreign people it’s a big attraction point while for us who live here it’s sadly nothing special anymore. lol)

As I said, Ian works for BBC Wales and told us that he is doing two documentaries that will be shown partly on BBC and partly on the web. One is about the relationship between Wales and Hollywood, the other one about the Miracle Day production. He was following the cast members around in Cannes and is off to Los Angeles for two weeks now to do the same over there. He wanted to interview more French and other foreign Torchwood fans but there weren’t really a lot in Cannes. So he had to make do with us. We realised that in front of a camera it isn’t quite as easy to speak English as writing it online. lol He asked us for about 10 minutes or so what we liked about Torchwood, why we had come to Cannes, our favourite CoE episode, what we think about the move to the US etc. He told us that he had seen some very impressive Torchwood scenes earlier this day at the Palais, and that he normally is not that moved by TV shows because for him it’s just his work, but that the bit of Miracle Day he had seen there, had really left him stunned. He’s sure that we’ll absolutely love it. He also said that the BBC doesn’t announce air dates that far in advance and that there is nothing to worry about.

We then went on our way to the famous chocolatier Lenôtre to buy some chocolates for John Barrowman, knowing that he is a big addict to chocs. lol When we came back to the Carlton around 6.30 pm, only a few press people were there but Ian joined us shortly after and asked us to stay with him because he wanted to film us with John and Bill and interview us again after the red carpet. That didn’t work out so well, as the security people told him after a while that only press can stay there: “one pass, one person”. Well, we didn’t go far, as just a few metres away was an area for people who wanted to watch the arrival of the stars, and as we were early (it started around 8 pm) we planted ourself firmly just behind the barrier. Ian said it was okay and that he could film us from his official press spot.
BBC producer Ian checks the best camera position to film the Torchwood stars later on the red carpet

The arrival of the stars was minutely timed and we knew through Ian that the Torchwood stars were expected at 8.23 pm. More onlookers had arrived in the meantime; some wanted to see Schwartzenecker who never showed up. We didn’t give a damn about him. lol Then finally the Torchwood actors arrived. When John got out of the car, after hugging Bill who got out of another one, he came straight to us. I have to say we have met him several times before and he recognised us. John greeted us warmly and guessed immediately that it was chocolates in that bag. And we all know him, he couldn’t help but peek inside. That’s when the MIPTV photographer caught us all on camera. lol

John told us that Cannes was quite busy for him and that after the reception he had a dinner with the BBC. People called his name and he went on writing autographs for everyone who asked. I suppose not all the people calling him knew who he was but just repeated the name they heard, as a few asked us for his name later and I had to spell “Barrowman” and “Torchwood” several times, but they were rather starstruck seeing him, men and women alike. I suppose there will be a few more watching Torchwood this summer. ;-) Bill Pullman followed John and we also called him over (no chocolates for him though lol), and he too was patient to give autographs and to talk to the fans. They both posed for the photographers for a while, along with Julie Gardner. And we saw Gavin Barker, John’s manager and friend, who stayed a bit in the background.

After the Torchwood stars and some French actors I didn’t really know, the Camelot (another Starz series) actors Jamie Campbell Bower, Eva Green and Joe Fiennes arrived and also got cheers from the crowd. It was all in all a very glamourous event for which only Cannes with its Croisette and the splendid Carlton Hotel could deliver the right background. Ian told us he had never seen something so glamourous for Torchwood, and I suppose he has great film material from this soirée. I’m looking forward to his documentary, not the part where he interviewed us though (I hope he really cuts it down to some soundbites lol), but the whole appearance of the Torchwood stars at the Côte d’Azur.

John and Bill on the Red Carpet

Pictures by Torchwood4Fans and Cathy B.