A Victoria man has a hobby of tracking down celebrities.
Nick Cooknell’s ambitious goal of collecting autographs and photos from famous athletes, actors and musicians started around 2015 when Disney’s The Descendents filmed in Greater Victoria.
He waited close to eight hours to get autographs with the cast, which included Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart, Dove Cameron and Cameron Boyce.
Since then, he’s made some friends who work in local film crews and learned the ins and outs of finding visiting celebs in Greater Victoria and Vancouver.
Cooknell has collected 255 autographed CDs and 190 autographed movies. He keeps albums for all his celebrity photos, which include captures with Pamela Anderson, Riverdale star K.J. Appa, Steven Tyler, WWE star John Cena and even “Allan from the A&W commercials.”
Not to mention the celebrity dogs he’s met such as the canine actors for the movies Hachi and Underdog.
“It’s almost like putting together a puzzle, trying to figure out where they are,” he said, adding that he usually waits on film sets or outside concerts to meet stars – sometimes spending hours in hopes he’ll get a quick picture.
In fact, there’s almost nothing that will stop the autograph collector. He walked up Bear Mountain when a snow storm stopped bus routes just to meet the Montreal Candiéns alumni. He’s woken up at 3 a.m. to catch celebs on their way into set or has waited around until midnight in hopes of seeing a star.
“I guess you could say no weather or distance can stop me,” he said. “And even if I don’t get to meet the celebrities, getting a glimpse of them is sometimes enough for me. Especially if I can get a picture to prove it.”
Cooknell has also met his fair share of athletes, including almost all of the Vancouver Canucks – his favourite team.
“I met [Brock Boesner] three times before he actually started playing,” he said.
Cooknell’s most recent meet and greet was with actress Katie Holmes who is in Victoria to film the sequel for horror film, The Boy.
|Nick Cooknell (right) was nervous to meet actor Johnny Depp in Colwood in 2017 but said the actor was very friendly. (Courtesy of Nick Cooknell)|
His favourite celebrity encounter was in 2017 when he met Johnny Depp while the actor was filming a scene for Richard Says Goodbye at the Hatley Castle in Colwood.
“I thought with how famous he is, he wouldn’t be as friendly. But he was really nice,” Cooknell recalled.
Another favourite for the celebrity-finder? Local and B.C.-wide personalities from Vancouver Island, such as TV and radio broadcasters and politicians like Premier John Horgan and B.C. Finance Minister Carole James.
Cooknell’s next goal is to meet pop star Ariana Grande, who is performing in Vancouver in April during her world tour.
“I went to her concert last time she was [in B.C.] but I never got to meet her,” he said. “So that would be really cool.”
Cooknell is working towards a career on film sets, and with his celebrity experiences, isn’t likely to get star-struck on set.