42nd Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day One

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 by Ian Evans

It’s the opening day of the 42nd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. The opening night gala over at Roy Thomson Hall is Borg/McEnroe, which looks at the famous rivalry between tennis icons Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe leading up to their legendary Wimbledon final in 1980. They were the fire and ice of the game. Borg was calm, cool and collected with laser focus, while the tempestuous McEnroe wore his heart on his sweatbands and let his emotions boil to the surface. Though seemingly complete opposites, they were at the top of their game and their battles on the court would last for hours.

Shia LaBeouf, who plays McEnroe, possibly understands the attention the tennis star got for his behaviour. LaBeouf has been scrutinized more for his off-screen antics lately than his acting. To avoid questions in an unmoderated environment, he didn’t take stop for reporters on the carpet, though he did take part in a press conference earlier in the day. LaBeouf was aware of the comparisons between himself and McEnroe, telling the press conference that “This is another parallel that I feel with him, for sure. It’s part of the cathartic feeling of the film for me.”

Meanwhile over at the VISA Screening Room, which has moved from the Elgin to the Princess of Wales Theatre, their screening schedule kicked off with the premiere of Papillon, Michael Noer’s remake of the 1973 Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman film that stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek. Director Michael Noer told reporters that Hunnam immerses himself into the film’s universe. Hunnam said that he originally turned the film down when he was offered it because he thought about how people would react to a remake. When another actor accepted the role, he began to doubt his decision but luckily the role became available again and he and director Noer had a fourteen hour meeting to discuss the project. Sharing a vision, he was firmly onboard.

Over at the Ryerson Theatre, director Luca Guadagnino had the premiere for Call Me By Your Name. The film examines the relationship between a 17-year-old boy (Timothée Chalamet), and an older research assistant (Armie Hammer), who joins his family at their vacation villa over the course of an Italian summer. Hammer told reporters that he felt love was love and he hoped that audiences would be reminded of their summer romances. He added that the film – based on André Aciman’s novel and adapted by James Ivory – follows the process of love as we grow up, meet someone, have our hearts broken, and learn.