January 12-13, 2019:
They say the third time's the charm so this one should be Tom's best one yet, and if not best, it will definitely be the easiest. He is only appearing two days versus the three days he did in Seattle, Chicago, and Tokyo. Also, overall Tom has less events and more than 1/4th of his tickets were still available. Hopefully that means things will be less rushed and Tom won't have to stay after hours. (He had to stay three hours after close to finish doing autographs at Wizard World Philadelphia)
Sadly, Tom doesn't have any duo or group photo-ops scheduled this time around. I know fans would've paid any sum of money to pose with Hiddles and Fassy, or with Charlie who was just cast in Betrayal. Fingers crossed for some backstage pictures of the guys together!
I'd like to address some of those complaints first. Obviously these events are very expensive and for many people it may the first (and only time) you ever meet Tom or another celebrity. But I need you to lower your expectations. It even says on the ACE website that it's ", but it is a rapidly moving process". You paid for a photo. Did you get a photo? Great. You paid for an autograph. Did you get an autograph? Great. So to write hateful messages about Tom or be rude to the staff at ACE because you didn't get to tell your whole life story is tasteless. Do Cons completely oversell Tom? You betcha. But the idea is to be able to fit in as many people as possible - which also means that Tom also gets to meet as many people as possible.
There are plenty of legitimate complaints to be made about ACE Arizona. A) The sound during the panels was terrible - even the actors on stage had to keep asking for things to be repeated. And there was music blaring throughout the arena so loud you could hardly have a conversation. B) The show was laid out on three different floors. In order to get in and out of the photo or autograph areas you had to walk up and down the arena. And there was only one specific place to exit or enter which meant you had to walk all the way around. I walked almost SIX MILES today! .... but the staff at ACE are the best. If you have a question - ask them! If you want to do a specific pose - ask them! If you have any type of question or concern - ask them!
Now that we got all that out of the way - let's talk about the fun stuff. IMO Tom was just as generous and lovely as he always is - tired, but lovely. He has this incredible ability to remember EVERYONE no matter how briefly you may have met or has long it's been, and EVERYTHING you've ever said. (Meanwhile I don't even remember what I had for breakfast). TheTeeStudio custom made this shirt for me. It's a play on the Ariana Grande song Thank U, Next but instead of ex-boyfriends I used Tom's characters. For those who don't know: Sharpe is from Crimson Peak, Adam is from Only Lovers Left Alive, and Freddie is from The Deep Blue Sea. Most people I met loved my shirt and thought it was really funny... somehow Tom Hiddleston has never heard of this song but still knows how to do the floss!?!?
Speaking of Crimson Peak - I finally got my Art of Darkness book signed! It is the most beautiful book ever made... The inscription says "Love makes monsters of us all".
I also commissioned a piece from Butternut Gouache (more on her later in the post). It was announced on Thursday that Tom and Charlie Cox would be starring together in the Pinter play, Betrayal. We recreated the play with Loki as Robert, Daredevil as Jerry, and we transformed Zawe into a Gamora-esque superhero. Charlie is the sweetest person and acted like he had all the time in the world to talk. He hasn't read the play text yet and rehearsals won't start until February. That may seem like a short turnaround time but Betrayal is really just a series of conversations doesn't require too much prep.
We did get to see them together briefly when Tom crashed the Daredevil panel to re-reveal that they would be starring in Betrayal together. Below is Charlie's full panel and Tom comes out at 29:50. Charlie teased that they haven't played squash for years. In the play Robert (Tom's character) finds out about the affair between his wife and Jerry (Charlie's character). They stay friends but stop playing squash together.
I was waiting for a photo-op during the panel but I snapped some pictures from the jumbotron.
The photo-op in question was with this dude - Michael Fassbender. I have been to many events in my life and I have never fan girled so hard than I did at this moment. This was his first Con so I didn't know what to expect but Michael was so unbelievably charming. More charming than Hiddleston? I would say yes but maybe that's just because I've met Tom so many times now. I joked that he was wearing a Christmas sweater because he was our present! Fun fact: My very first tumblr page back in 2010 was dedicated to Michael Fassbender!
I also went to the X-Men panel with Michael, Alexandra Shipp, and Tye Sheridan. You can spy me in the corner of the video Alexandra posted on her instagram. The sound inside the arena was awful so tbh I couldn't make out most of what was being said. There was a very powerful moment when Alexandra and the moderator Angélique Roché were talking about how she shaved her head her role in X-Men and how liberating it was to not be defined by her hair.
Black Girl Magic.
It's not included on the programming schedule but Angélique will also be moderating Tom's Loki panel tomorrow.
....and we finally found out what Tom Hiddleston has been doing with all the Sharpies he steals.
So, if you came to ACE on Saturday - sorry! Sunday felt like an entirely different show. The staff really listened to some of the negative feedback and today went much smoother.
And Tom was much more animated today too! He must've had a great night's sleep or it could've been the fact that he ate half the bag of chocolates
cookies biscuits I gave him! (How that man stays this thin eating nothing but sweets all day defies logic) Tom was in the photo booth dancing and having a great time. We don't deserve him!
I had Tom sign my copy of The Night Manager Press Book (an unsigned copy is available as one of the raffle prizes in our Unicef UK fundraiser). He had never seen this book either! I think Tom needs to hire a new assistant whose sole responsibility is to keep him updated on the world and all his merch. I tried my best to get an update on The Night Manager 2 but he is a professional at artfully answering a question without actually answering a question.
I also met Charlie Cox again today and he just the most amazing person. So polite and patient and interested in what everyone has to say. I came in a Tom Hiddleston fan and left a Charlie Cox stan. Real life Betrayal! They will be the best pair-up. This happened completely unintentionally. I didn't even choose the poses because I never do poses... but somehow the universe worked this out perfectly.
The Loki panel moderated by Angélique Roché was really fun. Both Angélique and the audience asked really good questions about Loki, Betrayal, and Shakespeare. At 24:00 you can hear my question! You can't see it in the video but when the photo was announced there was a guy who hurdled over five rows of chairs to get to the front. I admire his dedication. You can view a gallery of 40+ pictures taken by Jason Laboy (the ACE photographer) here.
Fashion:Tom Hiddleston wore his go-to Con outfit with a navy John Smedley sweater, J Brand jeans, and Kurt Geiger London Chelsea boots. It's interesting that he went back to the KG after wearing his Aquatalia ACE boots to Tokyo. I had the perfect joke about him wearing ACE to ACE prepared! We came close to seeing Tom in a very different look. He said he had considered wearing his red John Smedley sweater instead but didn't want the pictures to look different... He knows exactly what he's doing! It would have been hilarious since so many people at the Con came dressed as Tom in the blue sweater and even brought him bears or other toys dressed like him. Oops!
But this also means that this sweater still exists in Tom's wardrobe somewhere just waited to be loved again.
As I mentioned above Butternut Gouache created a special Betrayal inspired print for me. She has the most amazing collection of Loki/Marvel/Star Wars/Anything You Can Imagine drawings available from her websites. Plus she's the bestest and the creator of Force Against Cyber Bullying. BG was kind enough to provide this copy of her Loki book to be included as a prize in our Unicef UK fundraiser and raffle for Tom Hiddleston's birthday. She is also burdened with glorious purpose!
I also met Yvonne and Douglas, the creators of Focus Comics. Focus is an autistic superhero. Their goal is to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with Autism and Autism Spectrum disorders. Along with selling copies of their comics, they also created several custom comic book covers that were auctioned off to raise money for Autism Awareness.
As a part of her social awareness project, Yvonne also filmed many attendees at ACE to talk about their experience. If anyone ever wanted to know what I sound like - here's that good ol' Appalachian accent! Don't worry, I still love me some Hiddles, there's a separate video coming where I talk about how amazing he is I promise.