Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner
On Friday, April 5, I attended the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival and had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite actors, Mr. Rutger Hauer. I found out that the 69-year-old celebrity was coming to town when I saw his photo on the front page of The Victoria Advocate with the headline “‘Blade Runner’ star to visit Victoria for film fest” which immediately led to me checking out the story. This was going to be the second annual film festival here in town and celebrity visits here are very rare! So, naturally I decided to purchase the $25 ticket for the screening of Rutger Hauer’s foreign independent film Il Futuro, which would also include a Q&A session with Rutger Hauer afterwards.
I arrived at the Leo J. Welder Center about an hour early to avoid fighting for a parking space downtown and to get a decent seat for the movie and Q&A. After picking up my ticket, I turned around and noticed Rutger Hauer and his wife standing at the small bar near the entrance. They were drinking coffee and chatting with one of the event organizers. There were about ten to fifteen other people hanging out in the lobby, mostly volunteers and “VIPs”. My natural instinct was to walk up to Mr. Hauer and shake his hand and ask if I could take a photo of him, but since he was just standing there drinking coffee and chatting with his wife like anyone else waiting for the film to start I thought it would not be in good taste and a bit awkward. I didn’t want to go all paparazzi on him and decided to do the next best thing. I walked up to the bar, stood next to the Hollywood celebrity, and ordered a soda. I paid for my drink and casually walked away and took a seat in the lobby. It still felt awkward. Can you tell I’ve never been around a Hollywood actor before? 🙂
Eventually one of the event organizers ushered Mr. Hauer and his wife to a back room for the VIP party before the movie. VIP passes were something like $200 or so for the weekend event. I ran into a former coworker of mine who was wearing a VIP pass, so naturally she went in there to hang out with the celebrity. I held my $25 ticket and waited patiently for the usher to open the doors for the movie. To my surprise about ten minutes until the movie was supposed to start there were only about twenty of us waiting in the lobby for the movie. I chatted with a lady from San Antonio while we waited. She too was surprised at the turnout. I figured people were just cheap in this town and didn’t want to pay $25 to watch the film. Heck a few people I talked to earlier in the week didn’t even know who Rutger Hauer was. Even after I mentioned Blade Runner, Ladyhawke, Blind Fury, The Hitcher, etc. it just drew a blank. Oh, well.
After the ushers finally opened the doors and allowed inside I got a great seat about three rows back for the movie and Q&A. Il Futuro was a lot better than I expected. I have to be honest that I mainly bought the ticket for the Q&A after the movie, but I was pleasantly surprised that the movie had a great story, which I won’t go into detail here. Rutger Hauer’s performance in the movie was of course superb. The director of the film festival introduced the ‘Blade Runner’ star shortly after the credits rolled and then directed him to a couch on the far end of the stage to sit down with him and another guy. Rutger Hauer answered a couple of questions from the couch, but then he decided to walk right up to the folks in the audience and answer their questions which ranged from specifics about Il Futuro and naturally segued into questions about his career and his more popular movies . . . like Blade Runner. One reporter spoke up a few too many times during the Q&A until Rutger Hauer finally told him to shut up (in a jesting tone). He basically told him, “Shut up! I know you can ask good questions, but let’s give some other people a turn.” Another funny answer was when someone asked how old he was. Rutger Hauer’s response was, “Google!” After some laughter, he did politely answer the man and thanked him for the question.
Someone finally asked the inevitable question . . . Can I have your autograph? The man had a VHS copy of Blade Runner. There were a number of other people who had brought things for him to sign in hopes that there would be an autograph session. The autograph session was apparently not officially part of the program, but the Blade Runner star said that he would sign autographs after everybody left because another group of folks were waiting outside for another movie in the same theater. He signed a few autographs in the theater, but then the director asked him to move to the lobby. So, he and a small entourage of his fans walked with him through a crowd of other people entering the theater, most of which had no clue they were rubbing shoulders with frickin’ Rutger Hauer!
Rutger Hauer Q&A. You’ll see me in the blue shirt about three rows up. Yeah, the guy with the balding head. 🙂
After roaming around the lobby for a minute or so, we found a place for Mr. Hauer to take a seat where he could sign autographs and take photos with his fans. Like a big dummy I didn’t bring anything for him to sign (because I really didn’t think there would be an opportunity), so I asked Rutger Hauer to sign the ticket stub for Il Futuro. A fellow fan was kind enough to snap a few photos of me and Rutger Hauer while he signed my ticket. I then posed for a fan photo.
Another fan had one of those old school disposable cameras and after one attempt after another of trying to determine if the darn thing took the photo I offered to take a couple of photos with my iPhone and email them to his friend (who was also in attendance). Rutger Hauer was very cool about it too. He didn’t seem annoyed at the least even after this guy took one photo after another with him. It just goes to show what type of guy he is. Aside from the autograph session and photos, he acted like he was just another guy at a film fest enjoying the movies.
Rutger Hauer spent about 20 minutes or so signing autographs and posing for photos with fans and then just hung out with us to talk about his movies and upcoming appearance in True Blood. Sometimes you get lucky and don’t need to spend $200 for special VIP badges to hang out with your favorite celebrities. Sometimes, they just break the rules and do their own thing and mingle with their fans. We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!
Have you ever met one of your favorite celebrities? Share your stories in the comments below.