29th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Five
Is it really Day 5? We’re halfway through the Festival.
The day had the usual mix of press conferences (Kinsey, The Motorcycle Diaries, Sideways, Tideland) and red carpets (Sideways, P.S.), but the craziest moment had to be when Sean Penn zoomed down the red carpet for The Assassination of Richard Nixon. Screaming fans…and waiting photographers…had a glimpse of the actor as he made his way into the Ryerson Theatre flanked by four bodyguards.
The press conference for the wonderful Sideways was a blast, with the dry humour of the director and his cast keeping the press in stitches. Virginia Madsen noted that it was great that they had the luxury of hanging out at the locations for two weeks prior to the shoot. As director Alexander Payne said, it was important that they had the time to get to know each other as the success of the film was dependent on the audience believing they were friends.
Since they were making a film where wine tasting made such an important role, they did do their share of tasting. In response to a question about whether they learned anything more about wine, Sandra Oh responded that they were all a little more confident in their palates than they were before.
Thomas Haden Church noted that it wasn’t too hard to act like friends. He said that when Payne signed him up, he passed along co-star Paul Giamatti’s number. When Thomas called him long distance, the pair of actors ended up talking for three and a half hours and he added that Giamatti was just a “great personality to have in my life.”
Madsen gave a lot of the credit for the film clicking to director Payne. She said that he creates a very relaxed atmosphere on the set and that in turn gives the actors “the freedom to play.”