Yes, the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival is a wrap, and in between all the parties ( Brad Pitt and I managed to miss each other), junkets ("Ghost Town" is a cute flick and all, but does it really belong at a film festival?), and backroom deal-making, there were even a few decent flicks shown.
MTV's hectic interview schedule only allowed me to see four films while I was at TIFF (I got a chance to see a bunch in advance, luckily), but I certainly wasn't lacking for sensory input — not with the sheer volume of actors and filmmakers I got to chat with.
This was my first Toronto experience, and I learned quite a bit. Here's a taste:
You Can't Sneak Into A Theater With Marilyn Manson On Your Arm
The premiere for "The Wrestler" was certainly not lacking in star power, but I've never seen all the heads in a crowd collectively turn as they did when co-star Evan Rachel Wood walked in with Marilyn Manson. A spontaneous serenade of "Happy Birthday" to Wood from the crown ensued (it was her 21st). One wonders what a 21st birthday celebration must be like for the girlfriend of Marilyn Manson. My chance to find out never came, as Wood canceled our chat scheduled for the next day.
Kevin Smith Likes The Dark
I've interviewed people in hotel rooms and bars. I've interviewed people at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone and in abandoned mental hospitals. But until Kevin Smith asked his publicist to dim the lights for my conversation with him, I'd never been so unnerved by my surroundings.
Every Minute Counts With Dakota Fanning
Television junkets are so silly. Basically, you're herded into a room with a waiting celebrity for a rigorously timed chat that can't possibly be spontaneous or illuminating. I had been told I was getting a robust eight minutes with Dakota to discuss her new flick, "The Secret Life of Bees."The sad part is, that's actually a decent amount of time at a junket. So when, as I walked into the room for my Dakota interview, her publicist told me I was cut down to four, well, it got a little ugly. I said I wasn't doing it. She glared at me. I left the room. Conversations were had. I think I ended up with six minutes to talk to her about kissing a boy onscreen and how much she loved "300." Score one for Woodward and Bernstein's legacy!
Never Pass On A Party When It Involves A Sit-Down Dinner
Sadly, I didn't have much time to partake in all the nighttime post-screening shenanigans that were so prevalent in Toronto. For the most part, that's fine by me, but the day after a dinner for Sony Classics that I skipped, I received the most upsetting news of the festival. "Josh, you really should have come," the smiling publicist told me. Whatever, I was fine in my room waiting on my chicken fingers to be delivered. Then she continued: "You would have had a lot of fun. We had you seated next to Anne Hathaway." I will remember those words to my dying day.
Mickey Rourke Is Getting An Oscar Nomination
Maybe I'm guilty of overhyping this already, but as a Rourke fan from way back when, nothing pleased me more than seeing him own the screen the way he does in "The Wrestler." And to get to chat with the man himself (in the company of director Darren Aronofsky and his dog Loki), well, it was a privilege.
The Most Revealing Comments Come After The Interview
Back to Hathaway for this anecdote. I had just wrapped up an interview with her about "Rachel Getting Married" (stay tuned for awards buzz for Hathaway on this one) when we were discussing my imminent marriage. How long did we wait to get married after getting engaged, she asked. Nearly two years, I replied. "Yeah. It's good to wait," she smiled, as I remembered every headline about her recent split from the just-arrested Raffaello Follieri.
Michael Caine Is Not The Most Reliable Source
There's not a better interview to be had than Michael Caine. The man has more stories than he knows what to do with. Unfortunately, it seems some of them aren't completely fact-checked. When the conversation turned to "The Dark Knight," (Caine was in Toronto hyping "Is There Anybody There?"), the two-time Oscar winner seemed to break huge casting news on the next installment in the franchise — namely, that Johnny Depp and Philip Seymour Hoffman had been cast. The only problem? Hoffman didn't know what Caine was talking about.
Philip Seymour Hoffman Laughs Louder And Longer Than Anyone
Speaking of Hoffman, when I brought up the rumored spinoff movie for John Turturro's Jesus character from "The Big Lebowski," the "Capote" star unleashed a series of cackles that are still reverberating throughout my body.
Jessica Biel Has The Mouth Of A Sailor
It's hard to put this in context, but suffice it to say, I've now heard words come out of JT's lady's mouth that the characters of "7th Heaven" didn't even know existed.
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