TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, DAY FIVE
TORONTO – Meryl Streep was a no-show on the red carpet tonight – she is reportedly sick – but Julia Roberts was resplendent in red on the carpet for “August: Osage County.”
No word on whether Streep will be at a morning press conference but director and CMU grad John Wells made an unscheduled appearance before a 4:45 p.m. press and industry showing that had people lining up 90 minutes ahead of time to ensure a seat.
He called the movie, which takes its name and backdrop from a location in northern Oklahoma, “an extraordinary experience for all of us. It’s based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer-Prize winning play that I was very fortunate to see on Broadway before I had any idea that I would actually be involved.”
It’s about the “fightin’ Weston family and they love each other and they laugh and they hate each other and they harm each other. And it was pretty much the same way on the film set,” he quipped. “We enjoyed it and, in particular, after every scene we spent time talking about our own families and what we’d actually done to each other in the past so I hope you enjoy it.”
He said the movie allowed “all different kinds of actors” and called it a privilege to work with Streep, Roberts, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin and others who would include Benedict Cumberbatch, Dermot Mulroney and Sam Shepard.
Shepard is a poet and alcoholic who is married to Violet (Streep), a cancer patrient who is a pain pill addict. His disappearance and, then, death brings two of his three daughters back to their home; one already lives nearby.
“August: Osage County” is rated R and features scabrous arguments and insults. Toxic secrets come to light and poisonous parenting patterns are repeated. Some of it feels stagey, as if you could imagine a performer walking into the darkness as the curtain comes down.
For screenings such as this, lines typically start inside, snaking back and forth and back and forth like a disorganized Disney queue. Today, however, it formed on the sidewalk outside where regular moviegoers line up or sit down on the pavement to wait.
It threw everyone for a loop, prompting one woman to point her finger at a volunteer and charge, “This is not OK” but never finish the sentence. A man, meanwhile, asked, “Is there anyone who knows anything [dramatic pause] whatsoever?” Not sure if he meant about life or the line of hundreds that disappeared past the empty storefront, parking garage and fitness center and around the corner where it disappeared from view.
Right before the movie, I spoke with Dane DeHaan (above, left) who co-stars alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston and Ben Foster in “Kill Your Darlings.” He plays Lucien Carr, a founder and muse of the Beat Generation, and in person, he has striking light blue eyes.
The Allentown, Pa., native will turn up in the spring as Harry Osborn in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and has just been announced as James Dean in a new project opposite Robert Pattinson.
Difficult decision or easy one?
“It was a really hard one. He’s my favorite actor and I have a lot of respect for him and it’s a really terrifying, daunting task but that’s what I always say I’m looking for in my work, is something that’s going to terrify me and challenge me and make me grow.
“So, I will certainly work as hard as I can to honor him, as much as I feel he should be honored, which is a lot.”
The movie, “Life,” is the true story of the friendship between Dean and Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock