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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira:

September 7, 2012 at 3:29 PM

A movie-star day at TIFF

TORONTO — Today at the Toronto International Film Festival I met Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Keira Knightley (only in passing; smashing crimson velvet minidress), celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson (here tending to Marion’s ‘do; said he liked my skirt) and a cabdriver who likes to talk about Russian film. Everyone’s a critic.
Movie star interviews are a mysteriously choreographed activity (“Notting Hill,” a few years back, gave a fairly accurate depiction of the experience): lots of publicists, lots of texting, strange encounters with very good-looking people in hotel rooms. (Sounds shady, doesn’t it? If only.) I spoke to Marion in a rather ugly hotel conference room, but she lit it up: very elegant, very precisely spoken, every hair in place (thanks to Ted, who I really wanted to ask for tips on how to deal with my Toronto-humidity frizz, but didn’t). She’s here with “Rust and Bone,” an unlikely love story from Jacques Audiard, in which she plays a whale trainer who must find her way back to a real life after a terrible accident. It’s a raw and very beautiful performance, and Marion told me about how attached she was to the character, Stephanie, because she was so complex. Most characters, she told me, you can understand after reading the script; Stephanie took some digging to find, as she wasn’t all there on the page. Very interesting movie, and definite Oscar bait (again) for Cotillard; it’ll open in Seattle late this year or early 2013.
That big empty conference room was in stark contrast to the “Anna Karenina” press suites (at a different hotel), which was buzzing with people in the hallways and rooms, gathered around a lavish spread of food. (The food, I think, is there to mollify press people who are irritated because their interviews are delayed, which they always are. Or maybe it’s just to make sure nobody faints.) Anyway, once I finally got alone in a room with Jude (ooh, that does sound rather spicier than it was, doesn’t it?), he was charming and we talked about Tolstoy and about playing an older, quieter character (in the film he plays Anna’s cuckolded husband) and about his upcoming West End role as Henry V. Law, who said he’ll turn 40 at the end of the year, said that he had wanted to play Hamlet (which he did on the West End and Broadway a couple of years ago) and Henry V before he reached that milestone age. By the way, he’s quite unrecognizable as Karenin, and seems tickled by that. I’ll write up the Jude and Marion interviews later, as their films open in Seattle; but this is just a taste.
Lots of talk here about Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” which screens for the public tonight and which I”ll see tomorrow morning; stay tuned. Also seeing “Cloud Atlas” tomorrow, plus a wildcard or two. Today I was charmed by “The Sessions,” quite the sweetest movie about a sex surrogate that you’ll ever see, and featuring performances by John Hawkes and a very naked Helen Hunt that you’ll be hearing about come awards season. And I barely lasted 20 minutes into “Graham Chapman: A Liar’s Autobiography,” an animated tale about the late Monty Python alum that felt incoherent and unfunny; maybe it’s just for diehard Pythonites (though there were definitely a lot of walkouts). Never mind; there’s plenty else to see. “This is the biggest film festival in the world!” enthused my cabdriver. “Yes, definitely one of the biggest,” I said. He quickly corrected me, “No, they used to say it was one of the biggest, and now it’s THE BIGGEST.” I wasn’t about to argue. More tomorrow.
(Photos: Marion Cotillard by Arthur Mola; Jude Law by Sang Tan/Associated Press; “The Master” courtesy of the Weinstein Company.)



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