It's always a fun day (usually in August) when you finally sit down with the Toronto Film Festival list of expected guests. It is a big list and you have to scan it carefully. The TIFF 2022 accredited list no doubt had some big names coming Toronto for potential autograph encounters - Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans) and Daniel Craig immediately stood out.
When I scanned the list and saw, Lee Jung-Jae was coming for his directorial debut. It took me a second to connect where I knew that name from.
"The Squid Game guy is coming to Toronto!"
This TIFF suddenly had the chance to be very profitable.
Released on Netflix in 2021, it quickly became a global tv sensation. The South Korean survival drama series gained a massive following and received widespread acclaim for its unique storyline, intense suspense, and social commentary. And Lee Jung-Jae was suddenly a massive star with a big demand for his autograph on anything related to Squid Game.
This Squid Game challenge involved a near hour bike ride (red light, green light?) chasing the entourage to a private Toronto Film Festival party celebrating Lee's film. I managed to get just ahead of Lee arriving and he was awesome about taking some time to sign some Squid Game memorabilia (and BIG thanks to the Getty photographer who happened to find my encounter interesting enough for a nice series of photos.)
Turns out, I won this round of the game.