33rd Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Two
We prepared ourselves for the crazy day that usually is day two of the festival. With Brad Pitt being featured on one of the red carpets today and Zac Efron on another, “crazy” would probably end up being be an understatement.
We started the day off attending the press conference for Ed Harris’ Appaloosa. The film follows two gunmen (Harris, Viggo Mortensen) who are hired to restore law to a town being terrorized by a ruthless rancher (Jeremy Irons). Their efforts are further complicated when a widow (Renée Zellweger) tests the affections of all three men.
Ed Harris said he read the Robert B. Parker novel while on a horseback riding trip in Ireland. He liked the dynamic between the two main characters, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, and asked his agent to check if the rights were available. Since Pollock was eight years ago, he figured it was time to make a movie. He worked on the script with Robert Knott and then it was time to consider casting.
While making Leatherheads with George Clooney, Renée got a call asking if she’d be willing to talk to Ed Harris. She said yes and after about five minutes of talking about the film and her character, she said she agreed to take on the role of Allison French.
Jeremy Irons said that he met Ed for coffee and that was that, he was interested in playing the evil Randall Bragg. He added that Englishmen always want to be in Westerns. After all, those are the “real movies” they grew up on as boys.
Viggo Mortensen, who plays Harris’ deputy, said that he was given the book to read by Ed while the pair were doing press David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. He too loved the way the characters interacted. He said that Westerns are “poetic” and that their big sweep allows them to handle a big concept in a clear way.
After the press conference, we headed over to the premiere of Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles. The film, which stars Clair Danes, Christian McKay and Zac Efron, looks at the emotional turmoil that ensues when a teenager is cast in a production of Julius Caesar directed by Orson Welles. Already the “crazy” part of our day starts as screaming girls swooned for Zac and squealed for an autograph or photo.
From there we headed over to The Secret Life of Bees premiere. The red carpet list was so long we could have used a traffic cop. There was Tristan Wilds, star of the new 90210; author Sue Monk Kidd; director Gina Prince Blythewood; producer Lauren Shuler Donner; prolific young actress Dakota Fanning; Grammy-winner Alicia Keys; Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson; the cool and talented (and Oscar-nominated) Queen Latifah; Academy Award nominee Sophie Okonedo and The Great Debaters’ Nate Parker.
From that ensemble experience, we headed over to the premiere for the documentary It Might Get Loud, which was directed by An Inconvenient Truth’s Davis Guggenheim. The film, which examines the history of the electric guitar, tells its story through three of its most famous players: Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. The rock’n‘roll legends didn’t disappoint their fans as they strolled down the red carpet.
Finally, we steeled ourselves for the screaming fans that were waiting at the Burn After Reading premiere for Brad Pitt. The comedy, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, tracks the antics that ensue when a couple of gym employees get their hands on a disc of sensitive CIA information and figure it’s their path to riches. Pitt’s co-stars Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, Richard Jenkins and Frances McDormand also took their turns facing the cameras.