We’ve got two very detailed reports from WizardWorld 2003 which is currently wrapping up in Chicago at the moment.
The first is from Telcontar:
Yes, it was a comicbook convention, but the Chicagoland fans were thrilled to welcome Sean Astin to our home town yesterday. The line was already snaking through the convention floor when we arrived just after 10:00 a.m, and some attendees had to wait for the the second autograph session, but Sean was his usual personable self. Unfortunately, there were only autograph sessions: no question-and-answer sessions at this con. Sean however made everyone feel like there was plenty of time for everyone, chatting and joking with the crowd.
Last year, Sean had requested that LOTR fans become community volunteers in honor and memory of the 9/11 tragedy, and Chicago Fellowship answered the call by founding Pippins Apples, to support local anti-hunger organizations. In appreciation of Seans being the inspiration of this charity, we presented him with a green glass apple.
The Chicago Fellowship also gave Sean a copy of The End of the Third Age by Christopher Tolkien, in which Sean was astonished to discover the fabled LOTR Epilogue. [Rather fitting as its about Samwise Gamgee and his daughter, Elanor.]
Sean makes every minute count, and we were fortunate enough to get a group picture with him before he had to dash off to his next appearance. It was a wonderful and too brief time with the actor; we look forward to seeing him again!
The second is from Naomi:
I arrived at the Rosemont Convention center on Saturday, shortly after 3 pm. My first mission: to find the signing booth with Sean Astin (Sam). This was quite a challenge, but I finally received direction from some ladies whom I overheard mention his name. They told me that I would probably get no more than a glimpse of him, however, because the line was so long and earlier they had to turn people away. My spirits dropped significantly, but I couldnt just give up. Sean was the main reason I came for this convention (although I was glad I did for other reasons, as well… I met Star Wars actors Jeremy Bulloch and Leeanna Walsman), and I just had to meet him now.
I made my way back to his signing booth, and sure enough, the line was extremely long and pretty daunting. The security guard said that we probably wouldnt get up to him before his time was up, but I decided to hang around for a while anyway. Eventually, they officially “capped” the line, and it appeared that if I was patient, I would eventually get up there!
My waiting-in-line time is hardly exciting, so Ill get to the good stuff 🙂 My heart was pounding as I approached Samwise himself… but he was enthusiastic and really welcoming! I asked him if he could sign a few things for me, and he replied, “No!” We laughed and he said, “Thats my new joke.” I had a “Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide” for him to sign, and he drew an arrow pointing out Sam in the line of the Fellowship. He also signed my “Rudy” DVD, and a picture of Sam for my best friend. Shes a huge fan as well. As he was signing my things, I thanked him for playing Sam in the films, because “…When I read the books Sam made me cry, and I when I watch the movies you make me cry…” and he chuckled and said something like, “Aaaaw, nah.”
Im afraid I was quite star-struck so I couldve said more, and Sean, if youre reading this, I meant to tell you Im really looking forward to seeing your daughter in Return of the King! I think its so cool that shell play his daughter in the movie, too. I also meant to ask him some questions, but my mind went pretty blank by the time I got up there. But he was so friendly and nice, and he gave his full attention to whoever was talking to him (which Im sure was no easy task, with all the people and noise around him and in the line). I asked for a picture with him, and he was even patient when the camera didnt seem to be working for my little brother.
Then he asked, “Is this your boyfriend?” I thought he was referring to the cute guy behind me, but he was actually pointing to my brother I think. Oh well, then it was his turn. He told Sean he thought it was cool to meet him, and Sean said, “Well I think its cool to meet you too!” My brother had a shirt with the Fellowship characters on it, and Sean pointed to Sam and said, “Look, thats me!” I thought it was cool how he took the time to notice things like that he commented on some of the things people had him sign, and a few T shirts. He signed my brothers shirt and I took a picture of them.
And that was my moment with Sean Astin others have said it before, Ill say it again. Hes such a nice guy! It was really exciting to meet him in person. And the day I went, it was free, which was a relief. He didnt rush, and was really personal with everyone. Thanks Sean, youre great! Definitely a day Ill never forget.