36th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Two
September 9th, 2011 – by Ian Evans
Ryan Gosling poses for the photographers at the gala premiere of The Ides of March. ©2011 DigitalHit.com. All rights reserved. Photographer:Ian Evans
We started the second day of the festival at the press conference for Moneyball. Directed by Capote’s Bennett Miller and starring Brad Pitt, the film has had a long road to the big screen. Columbia Pictures bought the rights to the Michael Lewis book back in 2004. Drafts of the screenplay were written by Stan Chervin, Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Brad Pitt committed to the project in 2007 and though David Frankel was to direct, he was replaced by Steven Soderbergh, who was subsequently replaced by Miller.
So, after more changes than pitchers in a long game, the film has finally made it to the cinemas. Pitt plays Billy Beane, GM of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics. Faced with a free agent exodus and a limited payroll in 2002, Beane and his assistant GM (played by Jonah Hill) used a technique called sabermetric’s to go after players based things like on base percentage rather than the talents sought after by traditional scouts. They assembled a team of undervalued players who went on to set an American League record of twenty consecutive wins.
Though it could be easy to toss the film off as a conventional baseball film, director Bennett Miller also sees a story of a man who realizes he’s may not be living the life he thought he would be but has to make the decision to live the life he does have to the fullest.
Pitt and his partner Angelina Jolie faced the screaming crowds at Roy Thomson Hall for the film’s gala premiere. They we joined by Pitt’s co-stars: a slimmed down Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt and wife Anna Faris, Casey Bond and his girlfriend country singer Sarah Marince, and actor Stephen Bishop. Baseball star David Justice, who Bishop plays in the film, also walked the carpet, as did the film’s subject, Billy Beane.
Over at the Ryerson Theatre, we shot the red carpet for Jennifer Westfeldt’s directorial debut, the comedy Friends with Kids. The film follows a pair of best friends (Westfeldt and Adam Scott) who see how having children has affected their friends and decide to have a child while still dating other people. The film also stars Westfeldt’s real-life partner Jon Hamm, as well as Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Ed Burns and Megan Fox. Working with a budget of less than $10 million, the film had a tight shoot schedule of four weeks necessitated by the timing of Hamm’s availability between season’s of Mad Men.
Ryerson was also the location of the premiere of the Australian film The Hunter, based on the 1999 novel by Julia Leigh. Willem Dafoe plays a mercenary hired by a biotech company to track down the last Tasmanian Tiger. Director Daniel Nettheim and producer Vincent Sheehan were joined on the carpet by screenwriter Alice Addison, novelist Julia Leigh and co-stars Dafoe and Sam Neill.
We ended our day of coverage with the gala premiere for The Ides of March. Directed, starring, co-produced and co-written by TIFF regular George Clooney, the political thriller follows Ryan Gosling as Stephen Meyers, a junior campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Mike Morris (Clooney) Gosling becomes embroiled in the political intrigue surrounding the campaign, including the fact that Meyers’ current relationship (Evan Rachel Wood), an intern for the campaign and daughter of the Democratic National Committee, had a sexual liaison with the candidate.
Clooney was joined on the carpet by his cast, including Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella, Evan Rachel Wood and Marissa Tomei. The crowds of fans screaming for the stars’ arrivals were also treated to the appearance of Clooney’s new girlfriend, the gorgeous and leggy Stacy Keibler.