Our favourite Austrian megalomaniac and multimillionaire, Frank Stronach, left his position as a long-time director of Canadian auto parts tycoon Magna International this morning. The reason: he wants to focus on the national political party he recently launched in his native country. When he announced his grand political ambitions in August, he said one of his main objectives would be to eliminate cronyism and corruption in government. Magna has operations in Austria, and Stronach wants to avoid any confusion between his politics and his business. So, at least he seems serious about living according to his principles. No word yet, though, on whether daughter Belinda Stronach will be drafting party policy. [Toronto Star]
All stories by Andrew Wallace
Cheap, delicious Vietnamese street food purveyors Banh Mi Boys have finally revealed the location of their highly anticipated second shop. Co-owner David Chau hinted last week that the new spot would be on Yonge (previous rumours had pointed to the Eaton Centre) before confirming the address to NOW Magazine earlier this week—
339 Yonge Street, in the storefront previously occupied by Shake-o-lait. The new Bahn Mi Boys will have a similar look to the one on Queen West, plus a small patio and late-night hours come summer. What goes well with late summer nights? Booze, of course. Word is a liquor license is a possibility for the new shop—albeit, unfortunately, not a very good one. [NOW Magazine]
This year, TIFF proved to be a classy, dignified affair. The scene on the red carpet was relatively subdued, and the antics at the most star-studded parties were surprisingly tame. Given the number of A-list actors on hand, we have to admit the histrionics quotient felt a little lacking. Still, a few great anecdotes did emerge. From Bill Murray’s sweet red carpet duds to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ubiquitous presence, here are five of our favourite moments from the 2012 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.
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This just in: Oscar winner, wife of Javier Bardem and noted looker Penelope Cruz is currently at the Spoke Club, hanging out with the cast and crew of Twice Born. Cruz was at the TIFF Bell Lightbox earlier today for a press conference and will be on the red carpet this evening for the gala presentation of her new film. Which is all to say, if you’re looking to star-stalk, get to the corner of King and Portland soon.
Toronto-based, Academy Award-nominated director Deepa Mehta and Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie are both in town for the hugely anticipated Midnight’s Children, Mehta’s adaptation of Rushdie’s 1980 novel about India’s transition from British colonialism to independence. Can it possibly live up to the source material? The novel won the 1981 Booker Prize and then the 2008 “Booker of Bookers”—which means we’re fulling expecting both a Golden Globe and an Oscar nod, at the very least.
Movie megastar Will Smith is expected to attend TIFF this year—though, honestly, we can’t figure out why. He doesn’t appear to have a film screening—as an actor, director or producer—and neither his wife Jada nor his son Jayden seem to be directly involved in anything on offer. Still, Smith is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, grossing $30 million last year, and his star power is undoubtedly a boon for the festival. If he wants to simply hang out and party, Dave Matthews-style, we suspect nobody will mind.
UPDATE: Thanks to the Toronto Star’s Pete Howell—and a tip from one of our intrepid commenters—we now know why Will Smith is traveling to Toronto. TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey invited Smith and his wife to the festival to help present Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, a documentary that they’re supporting. No word yet on whether or not he plans to party like Dave Matthews.
Last year, Keira Knightley attended TIFF to promote David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, which quickly became one of the most buzzed about movies at the festival—as much for the action off the screen as on. The actress talked about her drinks of choice–both before (vodka) and after (champagne) her spanking scene with Michael Fassbender—walked the red carpet in a whimsical dress from Elie Saab and made an appearance at the festival’s hottest party. Naturally, we don’t expect a show of such glamourous proportions this time around. Still, we’re anxious to see whether she can do the title character justice in director Joe Wright’s version of Anna Karenina.
Former Toronto resident and 24 star Kiefer Sutherland joined Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgård to walk the red carpet for one of the buzziest flicks at last year’s festival—Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. At this year’s festival, Sutherland will be in town to promote The Reluctant Fundamentalist, an international political thriller co-starring Kate Hudson and Liev Schreiber (who are both coming to town as well).
The last time Penélope Cruz graced the Toronto International Film Festival was in 2009, for Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces. The stunning Spanish actress looked absolutely ravishing on the red carpet then, and we expect more of the same this year at the gala for Twice Born, in which she stars alongside Emile Hirsch (who’s also attending TIFF). Cruz plays a single mother who brings her teenage son to Sarajevo, where his father died in the Bosnian conflict years ago. We’re going to guess that this film is not a comedy.
That’s right, the Almighty Goz will be back in Toronto for this year’s film festival. Cue unadulterated fawning, slobbering and hyperbolic statements of all types (and that’s just from us). Starring in two much-ballyhooed blockbusters—Drive (a good movie) and The Ides of March (not such a good movie)—and looking devastatingly handsome everywhere he went, the London, Ontario-born actor was pretty much the king of last year’s festival. He proved himself a charmer of George Clooney proportions, took his mom on a date and hung out with noted party animal Dave Matthews on the festival social circuit. This time around, he’s in town for his turn as a professional motorcycle rider-cum-bank robber in Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines—which just so happens to co-star Gosling’s girlfriend, Eva Mendes. Hot red carpet makeout? Yes, please.
We were disappointed when Dustin Hoffman didn’t waltz down the red carpet for the premiere of CanCon darling Barney’s Version at TIFF in 2010. So we’re delighted that the venerable actor will be in town for the premiere of Quartet, which marks Hoffman’s first turn in the director’s chair. The film stars Maggie Smith (who’ll also be here), Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly, and chronicles high drama at a home for retired opera singers. Which, admittedly, sounds exquisitely boring. But, hey, Dustin Hoffman is coming to Toronto!
Mark Towhey just signed up for what is, by most inside accounts, the toughest, most thankless political job at city hall: Rob Ford’s chief of staff. The mayor elevated his policy advisor to the position at a meeting last night—but in many ways Towhey already occupied the post behind the scenes (and rumour has it Ford offered him the job before Amir Remtulla’s departure was even announced). Since Ford came to office, Towhey quickly emerged as the real power in the close-knit, yet increasingly undisciplined, administration. Correcting that lack of discipline—which political sources say is a monumental, if not impossible, project—will likely be a defining issue of Towhey’s tenure. Will he be able to rein in the notoriously unmanageable mayor? We’re not sure. What we do know, however, is that there are many things said in backroom conversations about Ford’s new chief babysitter. Here, five characterizations of Mark Towhey that may offer some insight into how he’ll approach his new gig.
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In an interview with Rachel Mendleson that ran on Huffington Post Canada yesterday, Conrad Black remarked that he sees investment potential in the country’s near-moribund newspaper industry and that he’d consider getting in the game if the “right opportunity” came along. (From Baron Black of Crossharbour: “There is a great premium to be placed on the editorial function and on the goodwill of a famous trademark like a respected newspaper.”) When pressed on how he would reenter the market, however, Black was evasive—he didn’t want to compromise his imaginary plans with “excessive disclosure.” Still, that didn’t stop the Western media from working itself into a frothy tizzy. The Guardian suggested he must have been merely “teasing” and Yahoo Canada pointed out that Black probably wouldn’t be allowed to buy a newspaper even if he wanted to (convicted criminal without Canadian citizenship and all). The Globe and Mail, for its part, compared Black to Warren Buffet (yes, Warren Buffet). [Huffington Post]
—Richard Florida, author, head of U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute and noted academic rock star, sharing some choice thoughts on Toronto’s mayor in a sweeping question-and-answer with The Grid’s Courtney Shea. Florida also goes on to suggest that CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi would be his dream candidate for the 2014 mayoral race—or at least “somebody who looks and acts like Jian Ghomeshi.” (We asked Ghomeshi whether he’d ever consider a mayoral run—check out his response.) [The Grid]
May 14, Fran’s Restaurant. By the time the VIP after-party rolled around, few attendees expected the man of the hour to show. Leonard Cohen is 77, after all, and it had been a long evening: first a lavish dinner at the Arcadian Court, then a tribute concert at Massey Hall, where Cohen was awarded the Glenn Gould award (the so-called Nobel Prize for the Arts). The late-night doubters spoke too soon: as the clock struck 11:47 p.m., Cohen swept into the diner to a buzz of excitement and a striking-up of the band (CanCon rockers Lighthouse) and began to boogie, an inexpert little shuffle that the legendary troubadour made look effortlessly cool.