I'm usually okay with meeting the celebrity folk. As far as I can tell, I don't embarrass myself, I don't gush, or fawn, or beg for autographs (with one notable exception: I just had to get Neil Gaiman to sign a copy of Sandman: Endless Nights during a press dinner. Couldn't resist.). Part of being a professional journalist (scoff!) is being able to play it cool.
Last night, though, was a little difficult. EW held their annual Sundance party which is, on the first Saturday of the festival, the only ticket in town. (I heard that first-hand from Jake Busey, who shared my cab to the event.) As such, it's thick to the rafters with celebs of every stripe: Paul Rudd, Kevin Bacon, Gretchen Mol, Nick Cannon (who DJed for about an hour, and wasn't bad), Parker Posey, John Cusack, and Winona Ryder. And those were just the ones I saw. And I was cool.
Until I saw him. Captain Tightpants himself, Nathan Fillion.
I'm a big Firefly fan, see. Huge. Not that I bought myself a brown trenchcoat and ran around practicing my Chinese profanity, but I thought Joss Whedon's aborted Fox show was some heady televisioning. I reviewed the DVD set when it came out. I pushed for us to do some serious Serenity coverage when the film was being released—two separate feature stories, one on Joss and his cult following, another on Fillion himself.
So I'm doing a lap through the super-crowded party, and he's in the corner, dancing his chisled head off. (Okay, yes, I've got a teensy bit of a man-crush on him. Shut up.) My friend and coworker Whitney was talking to Elisabeth Banks' husband (still unclear on how they got to be buddies, but doesn't really matter...although I got to meet Elisabeth, who was really sweet), who asked "Hey, have you met Nathan? He's a good guy, lemme go get him."
He ambles over and talks with us for a good 10 minutes, the usual actor-journalist-festival conversation: What are you working on, Do you have a film here, Have you seen anything good, When do you fly out, etc. Super-nice guy. I decided to continue my lap, and leave him to his reverie. As we were shaking hands good-bye, I leaned in and told him "Hey, I'm one of the original EW Browncoats. It was really good to meet you."
And when I said that, his already-friendly face shifted a little, and got, I dunno, sincere. He pulled my hand a little closer and said, "Aw, man. Thanks for that. That really means a lot to me."
Best Sundance moment so far, hands down. Almost makes the skull-crushing hangover worth it.