I had the most exciting night I’ve ever had at work last Wednesday! An encounter with a minor celebrity left me slightly starstruck. So who’s seen the movie Into the Wild? It’s one of my favorite movies. Well, Wednesday night the actor who played Rainey was at one of my tables. I didn’t see them sit down but another server came up to me and said “You have a table. And it’s the old hippy guy from Into the Wild.” At first I thought she meant someone who looked like him, but I walked up and it was totally him! Ah! He had the same long braid, same sexy deep voice, and was just a HUGE man in general. So of course I tried to provide the best service possible and probably neglected my other tables.
Here’s the backstory on the guy: His name is Brain Dierker; he is from Arizona and was originally hired by director Sean Penn to be the marine coordinator for the kayaking scenes in the Grand Canyon. As he was helping with those scenes and working with the cast and crew, Sean Penn eventually began to see him as the perfect person to play Rainey (the part was still uncast). He asked him to play the part and Brian, having never acted, was originally hesitant but eventually agreed. And aren’t we all glad he did? Wasn’t he awesome?
So I knew the backstory of his unconventional casting and that just made me love his performance even more. What I didn’t know is that he is actually from Flagstaff and owns one of the ski shops in town! So apparently other servers knew this and had seen him around before, but this was news to me so I was still super excited and a bit giddy! Of course I didn’t ask for an autograph or let on I knew him cause I didn’t want to seem like an unprofessional and annoying fangirl. He seemed very down to earth and laid back and you could tell he was a good guy, much like his character in the movie. What a great encounter! I can’t believe I spent several years in NY but had to come to Flagstaff, AZ to meet a real celebrity for the first time! Oh, and yes, he tipped a solid 20%! Good thing, would’ve been a major turnoff if he hadn’t!