TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, DAY SIX
TORONTO – The little girl in the stroller was just parroting the throngs around her as they chanted, “Scar-lett, Scar-lett, Scar-lett.”
Her enunciation and pronunciation weren’t so crisp, although at least she wasn’t climbing a tree or standing on a table or trying to scale the metal backing of a sidewalk sign to get a better look.
The adults were doing that and I might have considered a tree, had one been free.
And there were plenty of regular folks just facing the Princess of Wales Theatre where “Don Jon” was about to play and Scarlett Johansson – newly engaged to a French journalist – along with director and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt were expected. (Above photo from movie.)
Around the corner outside the Roy Thomson Hall where “Kill Your Darlings” was scheduled, most of the fans were there for one person: Daniel Radcliffe.
When others, including Michael C. Hall and Dane DeHaan rolled up, teens near me asked or shouted, “Who are you?” One excitable young woman kept clamoring for “Harry,” while friends advised her to use his real name and not his most famous character. He didn’t linger much when he got out of the car and entered the white tent set up for photographers and interviewers.
The day started with “August: Osage County” and a press conference scheduled for 9 a.m. and bumped while people were in line to 9:30 a.m. When I arrived at 7:50 a.m., there were already seven others, mainly still photographers and videographers.
At 9:48, the photo call began in the space separated from the reporters by black curtains, which meant we could see some of the blinding flashes and hear the clamor for “Girls, girls, girls! Just the women” which meant Julia Roberts, Abigal Breslin, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis. “Ladies, this way!” (I think the photographers wanted just Roberts but she posed with the entire group and then the women who play her daughter and sisters in the adaptation of the Tracy Letts play.)
The moderator of the panel asked the cast to introduce their characters and Roberts identified Barbara as “the oldest and the least appreciated of the Weston family” while Lewis described Karen as living in a world of denial and insecurity with Nicholson’s Ivy “the middle sister, the one who stayed home.”
They are all the daughters of Violet, portrayed by Meryl Streep who must appear haggard, gravely ill and just plain cruel.
This is not just the play on film. The first runs three and a half hours – including intermission – while the movie is 130 minutes long. Look for it at Christmas or shortly after.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the son of Chris Cooper and Margo Martindale, wasn’t at the press conference but he has multiple movies here, as do Radcliffe and DeHaan.
Jesse Eisenberg manages to play two characters – a man who feels invisible along with his newly arrived confident, successful doppelganger – in “The Double,” inspired by Dostoevsky’s novella.
It was my final movie of the festival and one filled with movies that were tense and intense, except for “Enough Said.” People came out of movies such as “Prisoners,” “Gravity,” “12 Years a Slave” or “August: Osage County” talking about being on the edge or their seats, holding their breath or crying.
Even Roberts saw “August: Osage County” for the first time on Monday at Roy Thomson Hall, the biggest, splashiest venue.
“I sat between these two,” she said of Dermot Mulroney and Nicholson also flanking her today at the press conference table, “isn’t it funny how we keep ending up like this, the three of us?
"I think I cut off Dermot’s circulation just squeezing his hand with excitement and thrilled to see what everybody did. It’s such a great ensemble and even though there were a lot of scenes that we were all in together, my favorite scene in the movie is the bus station with Benedict and Chris.
“Just watching it last night. It was my favorite scene in the play, it was my favorite scene when I read the screenplay, and to watch the way they did that, it’s heartbreaking. When you pull your comb out of your pocket, I could just, I have on too much makeup right now to keep talking about that scene.”
Cooper hands over his comb so his son, known as Little Charles, can rake it through his hair. They have a sweet, tender relationship which cannot be said of the others.
Press conference photos by WireImage/Getty for TIFF.