Waterstones Piccadilly are always running awesome author events. I went to a talk and signing with American young adult author Rainbow Rowell in July and I’m eyeing up their Christmas evening this week. But on Saturday they really outdid themselves: they hosted the hugely famous Hollywood actor with just about every string to his bow, James Franco. On this occasion he was in his author guise, signing copies of Actors Anonymous, Palo Alto and Directing Herbert White, but obviously lots of the 300-odd fans (they’re just the ones who were allowed in the queue!) liked him for different parts of his oeuvre.
James Franco has been my favourite actor for about ten years now, for better or worse, and when Palo Alto, his book of connected short stories, came out four years ago I absolutely loved it. Actors Anonymous had been on my Amazon wishlist for months but obviously the chance to meet this man and get a copy from his very hands was too much to resist.
When I saw he’d be at Piccadilly I decided to go down despite knowing it would involve a couple of hours of waiting outside in the November weather. I had nothing better to do that Saturday and I ended up finishing and starting two books respectively in the queue, so it was time well used!
The queue was full of excitable ladies of all ages – but a fair number of guys sprinkled in too – and I was number 151, so seeing Franco was guaranteed. At around 12pm the queue started heading towards him and the atmosphere was contagious. As soon as I was within eyesight of him at the signing table, in beanie, moustache and leather jacket, no one could quite contain themselves.
James Franco himself was extremely nice. We’d been told he wouldn’t be doing posed photographs, selfies or personalised dedications in the books but he did all of these things. When it was my turn, we greeted each other, asked how each other was doing, he asked if I’d like a picture, I meekly said ‘yes please!’ I’m incredibly bad at taking ‘selfies’ on a normal day, so imagine my struggle when there was a table between us, it was at an odd angle, I could only use one hand and I was shaking. He actually made a comment mocking me, about how I’d have to aim better than that… It was very charming, anyway, and we had a chuckle.
Honestly, the wait was well worth it to meet such a famous, charming, handsome and awesome actor/author and thank you to Waterstones Piccadilly for such a well organised event! I’ll get back to you with what I think about Actors Anonymous – admittedly I’ve heard mixed things…