There were occasional celebrity sightings at The Forum. Bob Hoskins was a favourite visitor of the animators. They were also excited whenever Steven Spielberg and Bob Zemeckis dropped by – but they were there… working… so I don’t know whether that counts as a celebrity sighting. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall also dropped by occasionally. Spielberg made a point of visiting every person in the studio and letting them know that their contribution mattered. They all talk about the sincerity they felt in the interactions they had with him.
Nik Ranieri was ever-ready with a camera. He took some ribbing, but thank goodness that he got the photos and shared them with the rest of the crew. Jim Henson visited The Forum in February 1988. Bob Zemeckis brought Christopher Lloyd by The Forum in March 1988. It was during Lloyd’s visit that Ranieri cemented his reputation as the crew’s photo geek. He had missed an earlier opportunity to have his photo taken during a George Lucas visit, so he kept a camera at the ready by his desk. During Lloyd’s visit he ran down the stairs to intercept Zemeckis and Lloyd before they left and asked for a photo. Lloyd said that it was okay with him, so Don Hahn said, “Go get your camera, Nik,” and off he sprinted up the stairs to retrieve it. He is sure that they were rolling their eyes, but he got the photo.
Another visitor that everybody seemed to enjoy was young Christian Bale, who was at the Elstree Studios with Steven Spielberg’s Emire of the Sun. Spielberg brought him on a visitor to The Forum to see the progress on the animation for Who framed Roger Rabbit. Greg Manwaring amused him with coin tricks and magic. He was 11- or 12-years-old at the time, but Bale made a very positive impression on the animators. He was, of course, a very impressive kid – having won the role out of 4,000 child actors who auditioned.