(Zach discussing how he creates his characters.)
There's a funny story around how I got in. The lecture hall UCI was using to host the event has a sort of antechamber with two sets of doors so that people entering from the outside during daylight hours won't disrupt the lecture slides by letting in sunlight if they come in late. At night, and with the movie showing, the antechamber was a little dark. So when I entered and saw three shadowy people, I just assumed that they were there to collect tickets and asked the first one I saw if it wasn't too late to buy two. What I didn't realize was that the three people in the small room with me were the event organizer, who's a Film Studies lecturer at UCI, Zach Helm, and his lovely fiancée Kiele Sanchez from the hit TV show Lost. Lucky me! I got to shake Zach's hand when he introduced himself to me.
(Cat, Zach Helm, and Kiele Sanchez)
After Zach's Q&A session, which really rocked, I was able to get Cat a photograph with both him and Kiele. Since we'd already met under rather embarrassing circumstances, I didn't feel bad about asking Kiele to help me get the photo set up. Cat was ecstatic. She really loves Stranger than Fiction.
(Zach Helm and Kiele Sanchez at the premier of Stranger than Fiction. October 30, 2006 by John Shearer. © WireImage.com)
The lighting in the lecture hall was really bad. My photo doesn't do them justice. Here's a publicity photo from the Stranger than Fiction premier.
Cat also got Zach to sign her copy of the Stranger than Fiction DVD. I have to buy a new one now because she doesn't want this copy to get scratched. It's going into a protective baggy of some sort.
The Q&A session was a great experience. Zach seems to be a modest, down-to-earth kind of guy with a wry sense of humor. He did take the opportunity to plug his latest film, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, due out in November. Cat has already told me she wants to go see it. Zach has promised to come back to UCI for another film showing and Q&A session after it hits the theaters. I'm looking forward to going already.