One of the exciting things about movies and television shows being filmed here in Greater Sudbury is the chance for locals to potentially rub shoulders with their favourite celebrities.
With the reboot of “Resident Evil” currently filming in town, Vienna Lessard, 13, got to do just that Monday afternoon.
She and her dad, Dan Lessard, were able to meet British actor Tom Hopper, who is in Greater Sudbury for the “Resident Evil” shoot, in which he’s playing the role of the villanous Albert Wesker.
But Vienna was excited to meet Hopper not for his role in "Resident Evil" (which is still pretty darn cool), but because he plays the role of Luther Hargreeves in her favourite television show, “The Umbrella Academy.”
The Grade 8 student at École St-Denis is a huge fan of the show, having watched both seasons about three times already.
On Monday afternoon, her dad, Dan, had just picked her up from school, and was driving along Paris Street, when they both spotted Hopper walking near Starbucks.
So Dan turned onto Regent Street, drove through the grocery store parking lot, and managed to find a parking spot right in front of where Hopper was walking. They got out of the vehicle and were able to have a brief conversation with the actor.
Vienna was a bit nervous and embarrassed to approach him, but that kind of thing is old hat for her dad, a former local radio journalist who now works in communications for Cambrian College.
“It was the best thing of my life,” Vienna said. “Tom Hopper was so nice. Even though we took some of his time, he was so nice, and he took a photo with me. He answered our questions. He was just awesome and sweet.”
The teen has an Umbrella Academy face mask made for her by her aunt, and she just happened to have it with her. Vienna wore her mask in the photo with Hopper.
“I’m so grateful that he took the time,” Dan said. “He wasn’t put off. He wasn’t like ‘Get a picture and let me go on my way.’
“We talked about what it was like for him to be in Sudbury. We talked about his hometown in England, and just about the Umbrella Academy itself, and the film in Toronto. He was just so gracious with his time to answer our questions.
“It was just wonderful. He was such a nice gentleman. It was just a delight to meet him.”
Dan said a number of coincidences aligned to make this “perfect moment” possible.
Vienna was a couple of minutes late coming out of school — if she’d been on time, they would have probably missed Hopper. After spotting him, they were able to find a parking spot right near where he was walking.
Dan had picked up Vienna instead of his wife Tracy, who would have been much more reticent about approaching a celebrity.
And finally, Vienna had her Umbrella Academy face mask with her because her mother did the laundry (Vienna’s regular chore) instead of the teen over the weekend, and had picked out that specific mask for her to wear to school on Monday.
“Everything worked out just perfect for this to happen,” Dan said.