Productivity is down across the city today as many recover from a TIFF party weekend to remember (or not).
The Star details the weekend’s biggest star-studded event — the A Dangerous Method after party at the Grey Goose Soho House — as well as the best of food, music and more from a sampling of the dozens of parties that have taken place since Thursday.
Best party to make you feel like you were in a dream sequence: Grey Goose Soho House pop-up party, Saturday night
It wasn’t just the effect of vodka cocktails — by 1 a.m., there were so many A-list celebrities circulating one’s sense of reality got a little shaky. A-listers don’t often outnumber the rest of us.
On Saturday night Bono, George Clooney (and rumoured lady friend Stacy Keibler), Ryan Gosling, Keira Knightly, David Cronenburg, Evan Rachel Wood, Jon Hamm and girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt, Anna Faris, Jonah Hill, Bryan Cranston, Emily Blunt, Kirsten Dunst, Neil Young, Albert Brooks, Alexander Skarsgard, Emile Hirsch, Sarah Gadon, Kate Mara, Jimmy Kimmel, and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and wife Régine Chassagne all partied in the entertainment district warehouse building. Highlights included:
— Seeing Clooney and Keibler head over to where three ping pong tables were set up hand-in-hand. For one promising moment, it seemed we were about to see the competitive side of Keibler, a former wrestler, and be treated to a game (sadly, they were just finding the back entrance to make an invisible escape).
— Watching Hill, bottle of Stella in hand, bob his head approvingly as DJ Zen blasted “Empire State of Mind,” and Wood fidget with that black hat she wore all weekend.
— Seeing Cranston with hair (for Breaking Bad fans, it’s a bit of a shock).
— Talking to a now grown-up, but still baby-faced, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, better known as the adorable, drum-playing child of Liam Neeson in Love, Actually. At TIFF with his new film Death of a Superhero, it was Brodie-Sangster’s first time in Toronto.
— Woman’s washroom banter that indicated this was no regular party: including “Is that a Fall ’09?” and “Who’s your agent?” being asked on the assumption everyone at the party was an actor.
— Wendy Gillis
Best food: No surprise here. With dozens of booths all around the sprawling Windsfield Park grounds, the noshing was best at Sunday’s Canadian Film Centre barbeque. Those in attendance could start off with pulled pork sandwiches and skewers of shrimp served in shot glasses from Per Sé catering, move on to barbequed Lick’s burgers, then finish it off with mini cupcakes or cups of gelato. The alcohol was great too — Jackson Triggs, Stoli and Mill Street among the providers — but it being the Sunday of the first TIFF weekend, coffee and water were overwhelmingly the drink of choice.
— Wendy Gillis
Best live music: This might be a little early, considering that Festival Music House, the Canadian music industry showcase, starts up tonight, but so far, Cee Lo Green's performance at the Alliance Films party on Friday night is our best of fest. Brought in with a partnership with AOL, he was backed by a DJ Rashida on the turntables, the Crazy artist belted through an hour long set, which of course, ended with F--- You and had the very well dressed crowd singing along.
— Raju Mudhar
Best sweets: The Woman in the Fifth afterparty at Roosevelt Room. Sure, Ethan Hawke was a treat for the eyes, but bonus points go to David Rocco for throwing Portuguese custard tarts into the mix. The celebrity chef’s finger food menu also included beef crostini with red cabbage and soaked applewood cheddar, thai style shrimp roll and salmon tartar.
— Wendy Gillis
Best place to dance with no one watching: Post-premiere party for Paul Williams’ Still Alive. Great oldies tunes (Ticket to Ride and Empty Heart were among the playlist) and a small crowd at Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘n Rolla caberet and lounge made for a good place to break out the Twist. It would have been even better if the open bar hadn’t ended a good 25 minutes earlier than promised.
— Wendy Gillis
Best place to dance with everyone watching: As per usual, the Drake remains a place to see and be seen throughout TIFF. At Sunday night’s Rising Stars party — featuring a foursome of up-and-coming Canadian talent, including A Dangerous Method’s Sarah Gadon, as well as TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey — a large crowd of 20-something dolled-up hipsters made for great dance partner selection.
— Wendy Gillis
Most improved celebrity wrangling: Entree to the George Stromboulopoulos party at The Hazelton Hotel was much more civilized than last TIFF, which was a total clustergrope. Last year, celebs were literally pushed through the huddled masses on the sidewalk by handlers to gain admittance to the party at One. Most just gave up. This year, they had cordoned off a red-carpet area well, policed by muscular security and guests entered unmolested through a side door.
— Rita Zekas
TIFF’s big partier: Maybe it’s just his big presence (he actually played ping-pong on Saturday) but it seemed Dave Matthews was everywhere, from The Woman in the Fifth (which he produced) afterparty at Roosevelt Room, to the Vitamin Water rooftop lounge (hanging with Colin Farrell) and of course, at Soho House, along with every other celebrity in town.
— Wendy Gillis
Just as long as they're critiquing her work and not Madonna: "If it's fair criticism about my (movie) without bringing my life into it I'm fine," she told reporters at a TIFF press conference. "When they stick to the work, yes, I do pay attention." Unfortunately, W.E., a story revolving around the abdication of King Edward VIII for the woman he loved is getting tepid reviews from those who have seen it including the Star's Linda Barnard who wrote: "Her first try at directing a substantial feature film is not terrible; it's just not terribly good." She said Wallis Simpson, King Edward's wife, was an intriguing woman she felt compelled to explore.
'"She wasn't beautiful, she wasn't young, she didn't come from a fabulous background," Madonna said. "She was mysterious."
She added there are so many rumours about such people, but when you do the research you find it's probably not true.
"It's like Chinese whisper," she said. "It starts off as one story, but by the time it gets to you, it's a different one."
Remember how she said she hated hydrangeas and, in doing so, stomped all over the heart of the fan who'd given them to her? She tries to make up for it with this mildly amusing video.
In case you haven't seen the original video, here it is:
Sing it! Madonna quotes from her own song lyric at W.E. press conference: "Happiness lies in your own hand." She was in a scrappy mood, correcting people's pronunciation and looked hot - literally - in a long-sleeved red dress in a stuffy press conference room. She even tried out a new song on the press: "We're making a movie, isn't it groovy?"
"I thought Edward VIII was very punk rock," Madonna added when asked why she used the Sex Pistols wail “Pretty Vacant" in a riotous party dance scene with Wallis.
Madonna was also wearing a birthday gift from the cast: A small diamond necklace spelling out W.E.
"My legs and my fingers are crossed," she says of the December release for W.E. in time for Oscar.
Madonna on cult of celebrity: so many rumours about Wallis were assumed true. "We often reduce... iconic figures to a sound bite."
-- Linda Barnard
Director Madonna (C) poses with actors Abbie Cornish (R) and Andrea Riseborough before a news conference for the film "W.E." at TIFF on September 12, 2011. "I can tell when people are reviewing my film and when they are reviewing me personally."- Madonna
Mongrel Media Party – The Canadian film distributor holds their annual bash in the Distillery District’s Boiler House restaurant, and will feature a performance from The Sheepdogs. The company has many films in the fest including Take This Waltz (Michelle Williams, Sarah Silverman) and The Women in the Fifth (Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas), and cast members still in town may attend.
Diet Coke TIFF party – Estelle, best known for her Kanye collaboration "American Boy", is performing at this soda-sponsored event at The Hoxton.
Festival Music House – In its sophomore year, this Canadian music showcases moves up to the Mod Club, and runs for the next three nights. Artists performing on the first night include K’Naan, The Midway State, Hannah Georgas, Dinosaur Bones and Hooded Fang.
The Lady Event – At the Roosevelt Room, this film about Burmese activist and political prisoner Aung San Suu Ky will have director Luc Besson and star, Michelle Yeoh.
Francis Ford Coppola was at TIFF Bell Lightbox Sunday, for a Mavericks In Conversation session hosted by Cameron Bailey, the festival's co-director. (Peter Bregg/Getty Images)
Was Marlon Brando's unique acting style based on his poor memory?
So says filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who directed Brando in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, and who got to know the irascible actor's methods intimately.
Coppola was at TIFF Bell Lightbox Sunday, for a Mavericks In Conversation session hosted by Cameron Bailey, the festival's co-director.
They chatted about films old and new, the latter including Twixt, the film Coppola is premiering at TIFF. Memories of the late Brando got the most laughs.
Coppola said he and Brando would spend hours on set discussing all manner of topics, a method he used both to loose the actor up and also to record his thoughts on tape.
He'd later use the tape to fashion dialogue for Brando to follow, line by line.
"Brando tended to have a bad memory. I'm convinced his acting style was based on that," Coppola said.
"He'd go, 'Oh, I dunno I dunno'... He was literally trying to remember the line!"He was a master of using cue cards. So what I would do is I would have him recite the monologue that was derived from these hours of discussions ...
"And then he had these long monologues and he had a little tape recorder in his pocket. And he could just play it and then hear the line and then he could say the line. That's how he could remember those things."
— Peter Howell
Your guide to the latest on the Toronto International Film Festival – the movies, the stars and the parties.
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