Audrey contributor Mira Advani Honeycutt gets us a backstage pass into the parties at the Toronto Film Festival. Here, her report.
Toronto, Canada: The film festival is in full swing with over 300 films, international stars and parties. And the red carpet is sizzling with such stellar names as Angelina Jolie, Keira Knightly, Freida Pinto, Megan Fox, Ryan Gosling, Kristen Dunst, Francis Ford Coppola and the band U2. But it was the arrival of George Clooney and Brad Pitt that made the star-wattage meter go through the roof. While Pitt is here with the Moneyball, Clooney is celebrating two films at the fest, as the director of The Ides of March and starring in Alexander Payne’s The Descendents.
And where there are stars there are parties — staged in downtown lofts and warehouses transformed into stylish pop-lounges and upscale hotels like the Thompson and Ritz Carlton.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, and some of their films in the festival, Sony Pictures Classics hosted a dinner at Creme Brasserie in the tony Yorkville area. Co-CEOs Tom Bernard and Michael Barker welcomed guests such as David Cronenberg, director of the intellectual ménage a trois, A Dangerous Method, and its star Viggo Mortenesen.
I ran into Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard (the two are starring in the current hit, The Help). Howard, glowing in a black Escada skirt and a Pea in a Pod blouse told me that her baby is due in January. She was accompanied by her longtime friend and classmate Jason Lew, who scripted Gus Van Sant’s Restless, a film she produced (and out now).
Chastain who has two films in the fest, revealed that four more will be released in two weeks. This year alone she’s had several films to her credit. Among them, The Debt, Tree of Life, Take Shelter, Coriolanus, and Texas Killing Fields.
At the dinner table, I sat with Spanish actress Elena Anaya, star of Pedro Almadovar’s The Skin I Live In. The director, she explained, is in Spain promoting the film and her lead actor Antonio Banderas was due in Toronto the following day for the premiere. In the film she demonstrates some skillful yoga asanas. This was the first time she tried yoga and now she’s hooked on it, she said. And will she have time to catch some films? No, she replied. Her schedule is packed with press junkets in the day time and soirees in the evening.
The same answer was echoed by Emily Blunt and director Lynn Shelton when I met them at the hip Soho House. They had just arrived from the red carpet screening of Your Sister’s Sister. “It was a collaborative effort,” said the Seattle-based director about her comedy. Blunt, who has two films in the festival, commented that there were other actors with multiple films in the fest. Among them, Rachel Weisz, Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Kristin Scott Thomas and Seth Rogen.
It’s mid-festival now and the party scene is still in full swing. Monday night Harvey Weinstein hosted his party at the Soho House. Earlier in the evening the lounge entertained the likes of Madonna celebrating her film, WE, and Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler for their film, Coriolanus. The fashionable Brassai club and lounge rocked with the cast of 50/50, including lead actors Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt, and at the InStyle bash at the Windsor Arms hotel, Katie Couric and Kathy Griffin posed with Chace Crawford, while Kim Cattral, who had just arrived in town, was excited about her upcoming stage performance in Private Lives opening soon in Toronto. The party perked up around midnight as Jennifer Garner, accompanied by Harvey Weinstein, arrived from the red carpert screening of Butter and showed off her baby bump.
Story and photos by Mira Advani Honeycutt.