Whether you’re celeb spotting at Starbucks in Yorkville (across from The Hazelton to be exact) or standing your ground on the red carpet, this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has movie goers and film critics on high alert as an unprecedented amount of celebs are making their way to Hollywood North. As we wait patiently for the games to begin our very own Ryan Porter, Acting Entertainment Editor, shares his take on what happens behind-the-scenes with the stars, the industry elite and the fans. Here’s Porter’s P.O.V.:
On the countless screenings: Some of the films that come to TIFF have already stood out at other festivals—Like Crazy won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, Kirsten Dunst won raves for Melancholia. Other films have serious Oscar pedigree—the entire main cast of George Clooney’s The Ides of March has been to the Oscars before. And then there are films that star girls FLARE is obsessed with. We would watch Mia Wasikowska in anything.
On the buzzy press conferences : The press conferences are open to anyone with TIFF accreditation, which means you have a mix of media: Entertainment Weekly, CTV, Hello! Russia. This can lead to oddball questions, such as the Ukranian journalist who begged Oprah Winfrey to support Ukranian orphans at the Precious press conference (she graciously declined). It has become the most reliable part of TIFF that a woman will make a thinly veiled pass at George Clooney during his press conferences. This year I am looking forward to the W.E. press conference. The film looks like a hot mess, but I will take the opportunity to breathe the same air as director Madonna.
On his one-on-one chats with the stars at TIFF : These are my favourite parts of the festival, although you really need to reach for original topics. You are in a hotel suite for 10 minutes with someone who is perhaps giving interviews for the entire day. They burn out and they repeat themselves. That’s why it’s refreshing when a new star, like Gabby Sidibe from Precious, takes the scene. Her sense of humour really brought something special to our interview.
On manning the red carpet : The red carpet is a thankless experience for media, especially for print. The stars main priority is television, so many of the most in-demand celebrities will walk past print. If you’re planning to land a spot that is at all worth having, you had better plan to be there hours in advance. The red carpet at the One X One gala was always a rewarding one because Matt Damon talked to every member of the media. When it’s a project someone really believes in—in this case bringing clean drinking water to Africans—people will put in the time.
On the after parties : Last year Grey Goose threw a party that was so star-stacked even Josh Lucas looked intimidated. It was for Javier Bardem’s Biutiful, and he was toasting with Paul Haggis, Harvey Weinstein and Javier’s No Country For Old Men co-star Josh Brolin. Blake Lively showed up and had a long talk with Josh Brolin. It was probably the most celebrities-per-square-inch I have ever witnessed.