Billy Zane Style- An Act of Kindness on the Sly
There’s a saying “never meet your heroes” and that has been true to form in the past. Not every time, mind you, sometimes very true though. We all forget that these people that live on our screens and create our favorite stories have their own opinions, thoughts, personalities, and lives.
There are times it creates a beautiful illusion. We look at them as heroic, without flaw, representations of our wildest dreams. That illusion is nice at times. I have deliberately kept it as such when the mood strikes me. There is nothing wrong with that- as long as one recognizes it is just that- an illusion.
I broke my rule for a couple this weekend at Fan Expo Canada, including the actor Billy Zane and artist, Greg Capullo. I am so happy I did. The two were uplifting in their treatment of fans and my heart fills as I get to write this. Meeting Billy Zane ended up being one of those moments I will never forget but not because of my own photo op.
I didn’t have the chance to speak with Zane for much longer than a minute. He’s still as handsome as he was when I first watched him on TV and my interaction with him was pleasant. A line had just started to form when I had my picture taken with him.
As I unloaded my copious amounts of equipment and baggage before our photo op, I suggested they allow the next person to move up in line. I was right next to a set of two friends, one of whom was getting an autograph or photo op (I was not looking). I overheard a snippet from the second friend that included an appreciation for the actor along with “I can’t afford”.
They finished up and I went for my photo op. He’s an at ease presence but still, I had trouble saying much more than “I loved Demon Knight”. I was on my downtime so wasn’t thinking about writing. I just wanted a picture with this man that played a role in so much of my upbringing.
I grew up in a Zane loving household and if my mom was still alive, between him and Cary Elwes, she would have lost it at this convention. It was one of those moments where one really appreciates the memories media and entertainment can create. I can hear how my mothers voice spoke aloud when he would come on the screen and could hear her saying “oh, that is so cool”. It’s painful and happy all at once and this is what was happening as I leaned in for a picture.
I thanked him and began to pack up. A slight bump made me notice there was another woman to the side. I said excuse me and apologized. I looked up to the accompanying friend from the previous photo op.
She grinned wildly. Sheepishly she said apologized and then said “I’m not even supposed to be up here” and I cannot recall her exact wording but Zane had set her to the side to either take a photo or get an autograph when the line cleared out.
That, that is true appreciation. It is heart. It’s beautiful and I am so happy I got to see it.
For Zane, it cost him a moment in time. For this girl, he made a memory that she will never forget. He made her day and gave her a story for years to come. His action brightened my day and added to an already wonderful memory. Never forget the huge impact one small action can have, there’s always time no matter who you are.