Abigail Breslin arrives at Roy Thomson Hall for the gala screening of Janie Jones (Image: Karon Liu)
The second-last red carpet event at this year’s TIFF was for Janie Jones. The screening brought out child star Abigail Breslin, who preformed at the Horseshoe earlier in the week to promote the movie (and who has shot up a foot since 2007’s Little Miss Sunshine). Some festival-goers scoffed audibly at Breslin’s choice of attire (see left), but we’ll give her a pass since she’s only 14, an age at which everybody dressed like their favourite TV show character or singer. (Apparently Breslin’s a Happy Days fan.) Also on the red carpet were Elisabeth Shue and Alessandro Nivola,who was pretty much inseparable from his wife, Emily Mortimer. They even signed autographs together (aww!).
Sam Worthington at the gala premiere of Last Night at Roy Thomson Hall (Image: Karon Liu)
Last year, we gave the title of most fan-friendly TIFF celebrity to George Clooney. This year, it has to go to Avatar and Last Night star Sam Worthington, who spent more than half an hour going down the barricade at Roy Thomson Hall last night, posing for photos and signing autographs. He even had security guards take pictures of him with the fans. Co-star Eva Mendes, who arrived 15 minutes later, was almost as generous with her time, spending about 20 minutes with the cheering hordes before walking the red carpet.
Because any dress that makes its wearer do this in front of a camera crew makes our list. (Image: Karon Liu)
This year’s worst-dressed list was far easier to put together than our best-dressed roundup. (Overall, the fashion choices were too safe, too casual and sometimes just plain wrong. Take a look at the festival’s sartorial lowlights in our slide show below.
Admittedly, this was a harder list to put together than our worst-dressed roundup. But we dug through the TIFF photo archives and found these 10 individuals who did film fest fashion better than anyone else. See the slide show below.
Kristin Scott Thomas and Aidan Quinn at the premiere of Sarah's Key at Roy Thomson Hall (Image: Karon Liu)
This is Kristin Scott Thomas’s second TIFF visit for a French-language film. In 2008, the bilingual beauty was in Toronto to plug Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (I’ve Loved You so Long)—see her walking the 2008 red carpet here—and now she’s in town to promote Elle s’appelait Sarah (Sarah’s Key). Also on the red carpet last night were Aidan Quinn (remember him?) and the film’s director, Gilles Paquet-Brenner.
The director and cast of What's Wrong With Virginia. Left to right: Yeardley Smith, Harrison Gilbertson, Amy Madigan, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Dustin Lance Black (Image: Karon Liu)
Movie press conferences, for the most part, are 40-minute long, self-congratulation sessions for the director and the cast as well as venues for reporters to ask asinine personal questions because they didn’t watch the movie being discussed (to wit: the Henry’s Crime presser). Yesterday’s conference for What’s Wrong With Virginia, the last one at this year’s TIFF, started in the usual manner. Writer-director Dustin Lance Black (Milk, Big Love)talked about growing up in a Mormon household; actor Jennifer Connelly talked about how she was drawn to her character’s strength. Then Yeardley Smith, the voice actor for Lisa Simpson and our new favourite straight-talking funny gal, was asked how she got involved with the project. Her intensely honest answer will forever change the way we think of TIFF press conferences.
Kevin Spacey at the Toronto premiere of Casino Jack (Image: Karon Liu)
Casino Jack, based on the true events surrounding real-life D.C. lobbyist “Casino” Jack Abramoff, has all the sexy keywords of a political thriller: corruption, bribery, congress, money, power, murder… old white guys. For political neophytes, the huge scandal led to Tom DeLay’s eventual downfall and highly publicized resignation as U.S. House majority leader in 2006. At yesterday’s premiere, Kevin Spacey, who plays Casino Jack, signed autographs for fans (and one giant pencil-drawn portrait of himself) before disappearing into the media pit.A very pregnant Kelly Preston showed up solo (we suspect husband John Travolta was busy flying Oprah’s audience across Australia), and Jon Lovitz whipped out his iPhone to capture the madness and the fans behind the barricades (who knew Torontonians liked The Critic so much?). See our red carpet photos below.
Peep World, Barry Blaustein’s comedy about a dysfunctional family at risk of having the skeletons publicly removed from its closet, premiered last night at Roy Thomson Hall. The cast, including Dexter star Michael C. Hall, comedian Sarah Silverman and Judy Greer, walked the red carpet, and we were there to snap photos. See them in our gallery below.
Jennifer Connelly at the Toronto premiere of What's Wrong With Virginia (Image: Karon Liu)
Photographers, reporters and publicists all agree that TIFF madness peaked with Monday’s Kidman-Portman double-header. Despite the well-known cast and director (Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for 2008’s Milk), the crowds were depleted at Thursday’s premiere of What’s Wrong With Virginia, a drama about a mentally ill woman (Jennifer Connelly) and her codependent relationship with her 16-year-old son (Harrison Gilbertson). Ed Harris plays the deeply religious local sheriff with whom Connelly’s character has an affair, which becomes a problem when he decides to run for political office. Yeardley Smith, best known as the voice of Lisa Simpson, serves as an executive producer. See our red carpet photos from the premiere below.
Actors Malin Akerman and Ryan Phillippe arrive for the premiere of The Bang Bang Club at Roy Thomson Hall (Image: Karon Liu)
At last night’s premiere of The Bang Bang Club—a Canadian–South African collaboration about real-life war photographers Kevin Carter, Joao Silva, Greg Marinovich and Ken Oosterbroek’s experiences in South Africa during the late Apartheid period—fans raved over hottie headliners Ryan Phillippe (who plays Marinovich) and local girl Malin Akerman (who plays a photo editor based on the real-life Times picture editor Robin Comley). The only problem was that the crowd couldn’t quite get Akerman’s name right. We heard “May-lin,” “Maa-lin” and a few “Marlins” as the crowd attempted to lure the former York University psych student away from the cameras to sign autographs. Finally, one of the red carpet organizers yelled out, “She’ll probably come back if you say her name correctly!” Akerman never did return to the fan pit.
Bruce Springsteen at the world premiere of The Promise (Image: Stefania Yarhi)
The Bruce Springsteenand the E Street Band documentary, The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, premiered last night at Roy Thomson Hall, and we snapped photos of The Boss on the red carpet. See them in our slide show below.
Helen Mirren’s second film at TIFF, The Debt (the other is Brighton Rock),premiered yesterday at Roy Thomson Hall. Below, photos of Mirren along with castmates Sam Worthington and Jessica Chastain on the red carpet.
Actor Keanu Reeves at the press conference for Henry's Crime at the Hyatt Regency (Image: Karon Liu)
What was possibly the most awkward hour of TIFF so far took place yesterday at the press conference for the new Keanu Reeves vehicle Henry’s Crime, a rom-com about an average Joe who robs a bank after spending three years in jail after being falsely accused of robbing said bank. The room was packed full of photographers and reporters, yet for nearly 30 minutes, moderator Robert Gray was met with nothing but shutter clicks every time he asked if anyone had any questions to ask the movie’s cast and director.
Co-stars Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman at the Rabbit Hole press conference (Image: Karon Liu)
We often hear about people bending rules for celebrities, so it was refreshing to hear that Nicole Kidman was told no when she was preparing to play a grieving mother in her latest movie, Rabbit Hole. In the film, Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play parents dealing with the death of their son, and to get the emotions right, Kidman asked to sit in at a support group meeting. “I tried to go to a grief group, and they said, ‘No, you can’t come,'” Kidman recalled. “‘The emotions are too raw, and we can’t have somebody in the group who didn’t go through exactly the same thing,’ which I totally respected.”
Actor Natalie Portman at the Black Swan press conference (Image: Karon Liu)
“How do you make an independent film that makes people curious and want to come to it? Just get a couple of girls kissing, and it’s all set,” Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky said to a room full of laughs at yesterday’s press conference. Of course, he’s referring to the Natalie Portman–Mila Kunis make-out scene in the trailer that nearly made the Internet explode when it was released.
Aside from the kiss, Black Swan isarguably the most talked about film this TIFF because it appeals to many different audiences: film buffs who follow Aronofsky’s work (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), dancers and everyone who’s taken an intro ballet class, and fashion types who want to ogle the Rodarte costumes.