One Stalker's Film Festival Experience

Written by Samantha Craggs

Remember that girl who broke into Brad Pitt's house, wore his pyjamas and fell asleep in his bed? When you're a couple of bad breakups away from that, the Toronto Film Festival is a dangerous game.

I heard a couple of months beforehand that the Toronto Film Festival would feature the North American premier of Ride with the Devil, directed by Ang Lee and starring the actor who has been the subject of my every dream, erotic or otherwise, since Poison was big. Whenever I hear the name "Johnathan Rhys Meyers," I like to follow it up with "is God." The lips, the hair, the eyes, the cold and calculated smirk...oh, and his acting isn't bad, either. The thing about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that he can date Toni Collette all he wants, but he and I both know it's just an act. He belongs with me. He just can't admit to dating a measely Canadian reporter three years his senior. It would upset his management.

I knew that Jonathan Rhys Meyers' new movie was playing at the festival, where celebrities often walk the red carpet to smile for the little people. A true stalker would have planned ahead. A true stalker would have gotten tickets before they sold out in the knowledge that there was at least a 50-50 chance that the object of her undying affection may show his face at Roy Thompson Hall. But adding to my failure complex, I'm not even a very good stalker. I waited until a week before, after pleading with my friend Debbie to make the two-hour venture to Toronto with me, and the tickets were sold out. Everyone was anticipating the arrival of that coffeehouse wench Jewel. "Show up early on Friday night," said the guy on the phone. "There may be cancellations. You could get rush tickets." Well, I didn't have much choice, did I? Jonathan was expecting me.

Now, when someone says "show up early," it doesn't usually mean three hours early. But we're talking about Jonathan Rhys Meyers here. A drive that usually takes an hour and a half turned into three with Friday afternoon traffic. The Gardiner Expressway, arguably one of the busiest highways in Toronto, was packed to the gills. Debbie clutched the map with white knuckles, suddenly shrieking "you want that lane!!!" when it happened to be on the opposite side of the highway. The only consolation was that I was a short time away from seeing the man of my dreams. He knew I was coming.

Once we made it into the city, there was a new dilemma. Where the fuck was Roy Thompson Hall? I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, thinking maybe Jonathan vibes would pull me there, but to no avail. We stopped and asked directions from a guy so drunk he could hardly stay on his bicycle. He wouldn't have been so nice to us if he'd known we were stalkers. We found the place with relative ease and still got there at 6 p.m. I couldn't help but swell with pride when I saw the weirdly-angled building shining in the sun. The scene of my crime. The movie started at 9:30. They were amazed by our gumption.

We stood there for an hour by ourselves, the only ones dumb enough to show up three hours early. We'd exhausted our paper-scissors-rock tournament by the time a little man approached us with tickets in his outstretched hand and saying four of about five English words in his English vocabulary. "My partner cannot come." I would have blown him for the tickets at that point. After we bought the tickets he opened his wallet and said "Want to go tomorrow too?" But who was I to be picky when I was there to devise a way to kidnap Jonathan Rhys Meyers and tie him to my bed, a.l.a. Misery?

We hurried in at 8:30, me snickering at the security guards and wondering what they would think if I was there to see a celebrity who had me so obsessed that I was ready to build an alter of candles and Velvet Goldmine movie boxes. But who cares? In just a short hour Jonathan Rhys Meyers would come waltzing down the red carpet, take me into his arms and moan "Thank God you made it!"

So the celebrities entered. People oggled. "She's so pretty," the girl next to me whimpered as Jewel slithered by, her breasts bulging out of her pale blue dress. Yeah, yeah, whatever. Then there was Tobey Maguire, stopping to sign the Vanity Fair cover of the autograph hound beside me. "Buddy," I thought as I surveyed the autograph hound, "you don't even know how to stalk properly."

Then there was Skeet Ulrich with his good ol' boy smile. Then Ang Lee. And...and...and no Jonathan. NO JONATHAN! How could my instincts be wrong? Did he not tell me he was coming the night before when I summoned his spirit with my ouija board? Did the man not know that I had dressed a Ken Doll as his Ride with the Devil character? How could he not show? Woe was me.

In true stalker style, I take it as a personal slight. But life will go on, and so will I. My plane ticket is booked. I just know I'll love the adorable way he says "Who are you and why are you in my house?"