CW-darling, Torrey DeVitto, who plays Melissa Hastings on Pretty Little Liars and Dr. Meredith Fell on Vampire Diaries, is as sweet, nice and TALENTED as you would imagine her to be. She has natural grace under pressure and handled difficult fan-questions during her Q&A with husband of one-year, Paul Wesley, like a champ. Yes, I was moderating the panel. And yes, Torrey was sitting next to me. She was wearing a super-flattering black and white jacket and killer heels. Donning the in-style of darker hair with light-ends in loose curls, she shined. Plain and simple.
DeVitto and Wesley married a year ago this month on the 16th; DeVitto's talents go way beyond the silver screen to her violin. Yes, she's a terrific musician. Her father was a drummer for Billy Joel and her middle name is in Joel's honor. She even played her fiddle for Christie Brinkley at Brinkley's wedding to Peter Cooke.
What I loved about the couple was how Wesley generously shared the spotlight and limelight with DeVitto. There were about 400 screaming females of all ages in the 45-minute Q&A that took place at 3pm EST at the Metro in Toronto. The "talent," as celebs like Wesley and DeVitto are called at events like this, enter the room a few minutes after the session starts. Because, as moderator, I had to lay down some ground rules first. And, get the crowd even more frenzied for their brush with Vampire Diaries fame. Tough job, but someone's got to do it.
The two came running in after my intro and got right to work, engaging with excited fans. Wesley had no problem joking easily with fans, even when one made a comment about how small Wesley is in person. DeVitto picked up the question, explaining how television cameras add height and width to people. And she's right. A television camera adds about ten pounds to a person's perceived frame, and, because of perspective, adds a few inches as well. Wesley also admitted to having slacked a bit on his daily Vamp Diaries work outs, saying playfully, "What do you want? I'm tired...," followed by his signature James Dean-like smile.
DeVitto and Wesley were tight-lipped about next week's season finale, hinting only that Stefan develops a new relationship.
Another interesting revelation was when a fan asked Wesley if he'd ever watched the evolution of Joss Whedon's Angel to prepare for his role as the Ripper. Wesley stunned us all by saying he's never seen Boreanaz's work. Ever. We were all a bit disappointed to learn that Wesley isn't a fan of the genre he's a part of. But that's what acting is all about, isn't it? As fans, we'd like to imagine the people who portray some of our favorite characters are just as enthusiastic as we are.
Wesley also revealed that if he wasn't acting, he'd be writing. I found this of particular interest as a writer and writing professor, and almost handed him my card right on the spot.
DeVitto said she always knew she wanted to be in show biz while Wesley said it was something that evolved over time for him. His favorite movie: Goodfellas. DeVitto, on the other hand, named three--including Newsies.
Now, in case you're wondering, the schedule for a celeb at Comic Con is rather grueling. You're meeting and greeting people for several hours in the morning; you get a short break for lunch before prepping for your next appearance--usually a Q&A--followed by more photo opps with fans. Your hand is cramped by day's end; your throat is dry. You can only see blue spots before your eyes because there have been cameras flashing in your face the entire day. You don't have time to change, so you're sweating--all day--with only brief moments of privacy to touch up and refresh on the go. You have to smile constantly. You can never slouch. And eating or drinking is out of the question because press and photogs are always looking for that "everyday" moment to sell to mags. Even walking down the hallway is a chore because you can't do it without being followed by flashes and promises of eternal love. And the thing is, these actors are just people. Like you and I. They simply embody the ideas writers pull their thinning hair out to develop for you, the fans. And yes, I pull my hair out on a daily basis.
Speaking of hair, Wesley claims to do his own trademark spike.
As moderator, I had to wrap the session at about 3:50pm to get the next celeb (Gerry Ryan) in the room on time; not an easy thing to do, given that the Q&A line at the mic was still 20-people deep. But Wesley and DeVitto were very personable with their fans, giving each question careful consideration and elaborate answers--the kind that you wait in line for 45 minutes to hear. Luckily, Paul Wesley was gracious enough to offer to do further meet-n-greets in his booth stationed along Artists' Alley on the upper level.
Before Torrey DeVitto left the stage, she looked for me to shake my hand, thanking me for my work. She cued Wesley to do the same before their hasty departure. I was holding my cane in my right hand and wasn't quite ready for the back-handed hand-shake so Wesley apologized and shook my other hand, also thanking me before being deluged by fans asking him to stop and take a picture with him. He was being ushered out by his manager and bodyguard, even though it was clear he loved his fans and would have stayed in the room all day chatting them up if he could.
Wesley and DeVitto's first-class flight to Toronto wasn't as easy as one might imagine; not only was Joan Rivers a passenger (so one may find their fashion choice of the day under scrutiny on her next episode of Fashion Police), but the couple had to endure their plane being struck by lightening! DeVitto said it sounded like one of the plane engines had died when they were first hit; she thought the plane was going down. While Wesley joked that he knew they'd be fine, having previously read about how a plane's construction is meant to hold up to lightening. He laughed as described the odd way the pilot came on the speakers, commenting about how it was Friday the 13th so weird things were bound to happen. Indeed.
Before DeVitto and Wesley's session was set up, SyFy's Being Human cast members, including Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington and Sam Witwer were doing their own Q&A. I was prepping for my spot with Paul and Torrey so was unable to sit in on their session but did rub elbows with Huntington, Rath and Witwer as I was getting on stage for the Vampire Diaries show at 3pm. The chatty threesome, particularly Huntington, were super-friendly with fans and staff. I didn't have time to get too involved but can tell audiences that as I was prepping on stage, Witwer gave me a good, hard, long look. Up. And down. Witwer is six years my junior so I was terribly complimented, especially given his rumored connection with the gorgeous, Alexa Davalos. Three people were responsible for my look that day: Kate Somerville (and her insanely good skin care), my colorist, Jason (who made my hair absolutely perfect for the occassion even though I'm the worst client in the world), and of course, the indominable Roberto Cavalli (for his Moorea batwing blouse that not only helped me keep my cool all day long, but helped me look the part as well). Oh, and lest I forget to mention the adorable, Dr. Irwin Smigel, who has helped celebs like Kelly Ripa keep their smiles whiter and brighter for years--thank you for your generosity.
Three years ago, I went through a terrible trauma. More cruelty than anyone can imagine. It caused me to have health difficulties that included neurological symptoms like losing feeling on my left side, decreased mobility, weight gain, and depression. So as I stood on stage yesterday with the talented, generous and kind Paul Wesley and his lovely wife and co-star, Torrey DeVitto (whose million-watt smile is even more dazzling in person than on screen), and felt a bit like the vampires I so passionately study, write, and speak about: Born again. Into a new life. A better life. One where dreams can come true. And the cruelty that has caused not only me, but all of humanity, to turn to fanged-monsters as our saviors, has disappeared.
My one regret? Not having the time to tell Torrey and Paul that they'd be perfectly cast as Ana and Christian in the upcoming movie production of Fifty Shades of Grey. Oh, and by the way, if you are a fan of James' work, I can only hint at connection to an upcoming project surrounding the now infamous "mommy porn"--the dominant to Ana's submissive, as it were.
More to come on Toronto Comic Con 2012!!! And stay tuned for next week's reflection on the Boston Comic Con:
Must. Eat. Brains.