By William Wolf


Veterans of the Toronto International Film Festival speak of the very early days when it was a struggle to get stars to attend. That’s virtually unbelievable now, when the Festival is a draw for stars from all over the world. The influx is a treat for Torontonians and a boon to the Festival that can boast glamour as well as its huge selection of international films and being a draw for the journalists, critics and industry honchos from around the world who attend.

In addition to seeing films, I tried keeping a list of some of those spotted around town while in Toronto or giving press conferences and interviews in connection with their film projects. Handsome actors, glamorous actresses, noted directors—the attendance was indeed impressive.

Among the actresses—I still prefer to call women actresses rather than the politically correct term of actors---were Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Connelly, Julianne Moore, Juliette Lewis, Drew Barrymore, Mariah Carey, Robin Penn-Wright, Patricia Clarkson, Carey Mulligan, Ann-Margret, Amanda Seyfried, Demi Moore, Isabella Rossellini, Ellen Page, Julie Christie, Natlie Portman, Amy Morton and Lisa Kurdrow, to name some of them.

Among the men, without question George Clooney was the major scene-stealer. Clooney, with his wit and strong personality, to say nothing about his good looks, might be voted the most popular actor attending the Festival. Other actors: Willem Dafoe, Adam Brody, Matt Damon, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Michael Douglas, Viggo Mortensen, Robert DuVal, Michael Caine, Peter Sarsgaard, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Colin Farrell, Johnny Hallyday, Keanu Reeves, Nicolas Cage, Colin Firth, Chris Rock, Rob Lowe. Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen and more.

There was also a big showing among directors, including the controversial Lars von Trier and Michael Moore. There were Werner Herzog, Jon Amiel, Steven Soderbergh, Jason Reitman, Niki Carro, Tim Blake Nelson, Atom Egoyan, Ethan and Joel Coen and Jane Campion. Amy Morton was present as director as well as actress.

Oprah Winfrey breezed into Toronto as producer to promote her film “Precious.” Playboy Magazine owner Hugh Heffner turned up in connection with the new documentary on his life showcased in the Festival (see review).

Local gossip columnists were kept busy. The Toronto Globe and Mail had my favorite layout—pages devotes to clothes that the actresses were seen wearing. The bitchiest remark was by Amy Verner, who, in describing what Valerie Tian wore, referred to her “toilet-plunger-inspired hat.”


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