James Franco graces fans with signing at Chapters

At 6:45 a.m., 85 people are already lined up outside of the Chapters on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, shivering in the early morning cold. The first fans braved the below-zero temperatures at 4:30 a.m., according the Chapters event twitter page. Some came prepared with thick jackets and blankets while others opted for a braver, more fashionable ensemble.

Franco signing one of many fans copies of his book

Franco signing one of many fans copies of his book

Only a well-accomplished, talented and handsome actor would have inspired this kind of dedication, and that idol was James Franco. The first 500 people to buy Franco’s new book, Actors Anonymous from the Robson location on Dec. 5,  starting at 9 a.m. got the chance to meet Franco at a book signing later on. These lucky 500 got a wrist band for entry into the signing at 7 p.m. later that day with the purchase of the $33 book.

Chapters employees went up and down the line constantly, keeping track of the number of people present. Around 8 a.m., they handed out free hot chocolate for the cold devotees, who were more than grateful for the small gift of warmth. By that time, the line had almost doubled in size, stretching almost halfway down the busy street.

The anticipation throughout the line grew as the last waiting hour ticked by, the 500 slots slowly filling up. As nine o’clock came close, fans who just arrived ran toward the end of the line in hopes of making the cut.

The door to the store opened right on time, cycling the first few customers in and out of the store quickly and efficiently fashion. The crowd outside did not have to wait much longer in the cold, the line moving fast as excited customers went in and came out with their books and wrist bands.

One of the 500 wrist bands that were given to lucky fans

One of the 500 wrist bands that were given to lucky fans

Some extremely dedicated fans decided to wait around the area in hopes of seeing Franco prior to the book signing while others left in a hurry, heading to whatever commitments they had for the rest of the day.

Later on, excited fans lined up again, inside Chapters this time, participating in little dance contests to pass the time while waiting to see their idol. Those who stuck around were ecstatic to know that their wait would no longer be out in the cold, considering how many more hours they were willing to wait.

Around 7 p.m., Franco finally made his appearance, stepping out into the room to a loud cheer from the patient crowd. The song Bound by Kanye West announced his entrance, in homage to the parody of the music video that Franco made with Seth Rogan, released a week earlier.

The online page for the event had strict guidelines for the signing, such as the fact that Franco would only sign no more than two copies of the book per person and it only allowed for candid photos. These restrictions however, failed to dissuade the fans.

Starting the night off with a brief speech, thanking everyone for waiting for as long as they did, Franco promised that he would sign everyone’s books, despite the large number. The signing started off with the first lucky fan, Franco making small talk and flashing his signature crinkly-eyed smile. Although the interactions were brief, no one seemed disappointed as every signing was accompanied by a short conversation or smile. No one left the interaction without a smile on his or her face, some even having tears in their eyes from the shock of being so close to Franco.

For the whole three hours, the horde of people was kept entertained by the mix of feel-good, old-school music and current hits, cranked out by a high-energy DJ.

Franco never let his smile falter, as book after book was passed to him, followed by an over-excited fan. Although it was stated in the online guidelines that no posed photos were allowed, Franco eventually gave into the crowd and smiled for their pictures, leaning slightly in to fit into the frame of each camera or phone with a coy smile.

As the last of the 500 got their copies signed, Chapters employees took their own copies of the book up to Franco, looking as excited as the rest of the crowd. He posed for a group picture with them, pulling them all back in for a second goofy picture, the crowd sighing at the cuteness of the moment.

He then thanked the crowd once more, signed the posters behind him, then made a security-covered exit, waving to the fans that had stayed until the very end.

The ordeal showed Franco’s dedication to his fans, his enthusiasm for their presence there until the very end. He later posed with lingering fans outside of the building, posting a picture on his Instagram account in front of a massive crowd with the caption “much love.”

Franco has been in Vancouver for the past couple of months filming The Interview with Seth Rogan. Actors Anonymous is his second book, his first being Palo Alto, published in 2010.

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