39th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Eight

Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Ian Evans

Tobey Maguire | Pawn Sacrifice premiere

Starting off at Roy Thomson Hall, we covered the carpet for Pawn Sacrifice, a film that follows U.S. chess champion Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) as he prepares to go up against Russian champion Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber).

Maguire said he spent about two months preparing, talking to chess experts, people who knew Fischer, and reading books.

Director Ed Zwick found it interesting that this 1972 match was so highly publicized — where’s the chess channel now? — but during the Cold War the U.S. and U.S.S.R. saw these two chess champions as a way to express their differing ideologies.

Schreiber, who found his character to be a very elegant man, was also impressed that Spassky did not seem to be phased too much by all the national pressure on him to win.

Heading over to Ryerson next, we covered The Voices. Directed by Marjane Satrapi, the film stars Ryan Reynolds, Anna Kendrick, Gemma Arterton, Jacki Weaver and Gulliver McGrath. In the film Reynolds plays a mentally ill man off his meds who hallucinates that his cat is telling him to be a serial killer. When he gets back on his medication, he realizes his life is already quite violent.

Reynolds says he could relate to his character, Jerry, as we’ve all felt like the outcast or alienated, but obviously his understanding stops at Jerry’s murderous side effects.

Finally, we headed back to RTH for the gala premiere of Escobar: Paradise Lost. Written and directed by Andrea Di Stefano, the film is a romantic thriller about a surfer (Josh Hutcherson) who falls in love with a girl (Claudia Traisac) only to discover her uncle is Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro).

Di Stefano found interest in the duality of Pablo Escobar, who was at once a dedicated family man and a ruthless criminal ordering killings like we order take-out. Di Stefano says Escobar would help poor communities, so to this day he’s still a romanticized figure.

Hutcherson said that Del Toro was really able to capture the family side of Escobar and that made it easier for you to believe that his own character would be taken in by the “Robin Hood” aspects of the man.

Del Toro said the script interested him because even though it a fictionalized story, the underpinnings of the story were still grounded in the truth.

And so we fade out on day eight of the Festival.

TIFF Day Eight Photo Galleries