By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 0 Comments
He is the essential all-American movie star. California-bred as a delinquent jock and bohemian painter, he was discovered by Broadway, honed by Hollywood, and became the Great Gatsby, the Sundance Kid and the Horse Whisperer. Loveable rogue, charming outlaw and cowboy sage, he put the swagger in The Sting, exposed Watergate in All the President’s Men, and wielded a magic bat in The Natural. As the godfather of Sundance, indie cinema’s home on the range, he is also Hollywood’s frontier patriarch. Actor-director Robert Redford has put every conceivable spin on the American Dream, onscreen and off. But the thing is, he doesn’t believe in it. He talks about America with the dismay of man recalling a lover who cheated on him long ago. As for Americans, he wishes they were more like us.
Interviewed before last fall’s TIFF premiere of The Company You Keep (which opens in Toronto April 26), Redford raved about Canada. “I do love this country,” he said. “One of the things I like about it, aside from the fact that people seem to look north, is that there’s more respectful behaviour. We just don’t have it anymore. America did once, 50, 60 years ago. We were like Canadians are today. I remember that as a kid. And it’s gone.” Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, April 19, 2013 at 7:34 AM - 0 Comments
Wonders never cease. This week we have two new movies that are out of this world. By that, I mean they’re not of this world. They are cosmic odysseys, to opposite destinations.
After bombing as Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise bounces back as Jack Harper in Oblivion, a space opera that’s got more going for it than the title suggests. Also opening this week is To The Wonder, the latest transcendental opus from Tree of Life’s Terrence Malick. Oblivion is a blockbuster sci-fi spectacle with a labyrinthine plot. To the Wonder is an almost plotless meditation on spirituality, the beauty of dust motes and the quiet desolation of the American Dream. Both are visually enchanting but in utterly different ways—Oblivion is a remarkable feat of computer-graphic design; To the Wonder tries to photograph the tangible divinity of natural light. Strangely, they both feature rising star Olga Kurylenko, the Ukranian-born model and Bond girl (Quantum of Solace).
I interviewed Kurylenko at TIFF last year. For an otherwordly beauty she’s also something of a rocket scientist: an intelligent, cultivated artiste who speaks English, French and Russian fluently.
But in To the Wonder, she doesn’t get to do much talking—Malick’s not big on dialogue. And in Oblivion, she barely gets a chance to act: her most expressive moment comes in her first few seconds onscreen, when she awakes, gasping and coughing, from a 60-year “delta sleep” in a NASA space pod. As for Cruise, he keeps his head down and the gets the job done. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:27 PM - 0 Comments
It came as such a sad shock. Only yesterday, coining an original phrase with his last words, Roger Ebert tweeted that he was about to take “a leave of presence.” The tweet linked to a piece he had published just the day before in the Chicago Sun Times, the newspaper where he worked as a film critic for 46 years. With his customary eloquence and modest grace, Roger explained that, because his cancer had returned, he would be scaling down his activities. He usually knocks off about 200 reviews a year. But last year, despite his health issues, he said he wrote 306 reviews, more than during any year of his career, along with various blogs and articles. He then went on to map out the myriad projects he was looking forward to in the coming months of his new, scaled-down career—including the Apr. 9 launch of Ebert Digital, an interactive website that will be, among other things, a home to his archive of more than 10,000 reviews.
“What is a leave of presence?” he wrote. “It means I am not going away.”
Roger was such a prolific, essential and indefatigable critic, I couldn’t imagine him going away. It would be out of character. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 7:29 PM - 0 Comments
TIFF announced Canada’s Top Ten list of features and shorts tonight at a Toronto event hosted by actress Sarah Gadon and filmmaker Don McKellar. The list of feature directors offers mostly familiar names—David Cronenberg, Sarah Polley, Deepa Mehta, Peter Mettler, Michael Dowse, Xavier Dolan and Michael McGowan—along with lesser known filmmakers such as Nisha Pahuja and Kim Nguyen. The cultural balance is unusually tipped toward English Canada, with only two Quebec directors in the mix. (Denis Arcand, Denis Villeneuve and Philippe Farardeau didn’t release movies in 2012.) Four of the 10 features are set in foreign countries. Noticeable by its absence is Picture Day, which just won the Whistler Film Festival’s $15,000 Borsos Prize for best Canadian feature.
Canada’s top 10 features, ordered alphabetically:
Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg (Entertainment One Films)
The End of Time, Peter Mettler (Mongrel Media, National Film Board)
Goon, Michael Dowse (Alliance Films)
Laurence Anyways, Xavier Dolan (Alliance Films)
Midnight’s Children, Deepa Mehta (Mongrel Media)
My Awkward Sexual Adventure, Sean Garrity (Phase 4 Films)
Rebelle, Kim Nguyen (Mongrel Media)
Still, Michael McGowan (Mongrel Media)
Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley (Mongrel Media, NFB)
The World Before Her, Nisha Pahuja (KinoSmith)
The top 10 shorts:
Bydlo, Patrick Bouchard (NFB)
Chef de meute (Herd Leader), Chloé Robichaud
Crackin’ Down Hard, Mike Clattenburg
Kaspar, Diane Obomsawin (NFB)
Ne crâne pas sois modeste (Keep a Modest Head), Deco Dawson
Lingo, Bahar Noorizadeh
Malody, Phillip Barker
Old Growth, Tess Girard
Reflexions, Martin Thibaudeau
Paparmane (Wintergreen), Joëlle Desjardins Paquette
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 9:23 AM - 0 Comments
Here’s some exciting news that I can’t report with even a shred of objectivity. It comes from Rogers Communications, which owns Maclean’s, and the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA), of which I’m president. The TFCA’s annual Rogers Best Canadian Film Award will now be worth a staggering $100,000. The director of the winning film, voted by the member critics of the TFCA, will receive a $100,000 cheque. The two runners-up will receive $5,000 each. This is an extraordinary boost, considering that the award was previously worth $15,000. (Last year it went to Quebec’s Philippe Falardeau for Monsieur Lazhar, which went on to get an Oscar nomination.)
Rogers has endowed the TFCA with what becomes Canadian cinema’s richest prize, by a long shot. (Until now, the country’s most lucrative film honour was the Toronto International Film Festival’s $30,000 award for the best Canadian film at the festival.) It also ranks as the country’s richest arts prize.
Rather than interview myself, I’ll quote my official reaction to the news from the TFCA press release: “We are enormously grateful to Rogers for taking such a bold initiative. This exemplary cash prize gives our cinema pride of place at the country’s top tier of arts awards. It represents a tremendous vote of confidence in Canadian filmmakers, and in the discerning role that Toronto’s robust community of film critics can play in recognizing and rewarding brilliance.” Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 11:25 AM - 0 Comments
It’s an ensemble made in character-actor heaven. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener play a married couple who play second violin and viola, respectively, in a world-famous string quartet with Christopher Walken (its cellist) and Mark Ivanir (first violin). The quartet starts to become unstrung after Walken’s character announces that the onset of Parkinson’s Disease will force him to retire.
The drama is framed by a performance of Beethoven’s daunting Opus 131, a 40-minute opus with seven movements that are played without a break, even as instruments drift out of tune. The film is about what happens when lifelong relationships fall out of tune under stress. A tale of high-culture takes on torrid overtones as Hoffman and Keener’s flighty daughter (Imogene Potts) makes a play for her violin teacher, who happens to be their colleague in the quartet (Ivanir).
Making his dramatic feature debut, writer-director Yaron Zilberman casts his actors boldly against type, especially Walken. So often cast as a menacing weirdo or villain, Walken plays the quartet’s most benign and dignified character.
I interviewed Walken and Keener together before A Late Quartet’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. On a cold morning, we sat together in a corner of a deserted rooftop terrace above a grungy nightclub, where the movie’s PR team was headquartered. (The nightclub was so grim Walken and Keener had decamped to the roof to do interviews.) There we sat, talking about music and acting over the din of a high-rise construction site that loomed above us. Walken was dry and droll; Keener was warm and effusive—she almost never stopped laughing.
Q: Am I correct to assume that the most difficult part of your job was to mime the instruments?
Keener: I would say that’s true. To learn how to hold a bow was very difficult for someone who’s never played an instrument. There are little things. When you’re doing a crossword puzzle, you’ll walk away from it or you’ll stare and try to unlock it, and two days later it unlocks. That’s what happened. I tried with the bow and thought I’d never get this. Then one day I thought, ‘Am I holding this right?’ And I was. And everything sort of fell into place. That was my watershed moment.
Q: Christopher, did you have a watershed moment?
Walken: I never really did get the hang of it. I relied on cinematography and editing. Basically, it’s about simulating a craft, giving the impression that you could play the cello. It didn’t matter to me whether I could play the cello; it was about replicating the look. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 11:40 PM - 0 Comments
The famously good-looking Hollywood star is out to prove he’s a serious actor, too
From the first time he caught our eye, as “Sack” Lodge, the Ivy League jerk engaged to Rachel McAdams in Wedding Crashers (2005), Bradley Cooper seemed too good-looking for his own good. Between the hubris-eating grin and the laser intensity of those blue eyes, he was all too convincing as a football-mad frat boy gloating over his superior genes. Since then, Cooper has gone on to play more likeable men—most famously, Phil, the alpha male leading the blackout brigade of losers in the two Hangover comedies, which have grossed $2 billion. And last year he was annointed People’s sexiest man alive. Neither that dubious honour nor the Hangover windfall have done much to burnish Cooper’s image as a serious actor. But lately he has seemed bent on changing that.
For a Hollywood hunk, playing a freak of nature may seem like a stretch, but this month the 37-year-old actor fulfilled a childhood dream—and completed his Actor’s Studio Drama School master’s thesis for New York University—by starring in an acclaimed stage production of David Merrick’s The Elephant Man at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. (When he was 12, Cooper’s father gave him a video of David Lynch’s film of the play: it made him weep.) “I felt such a connection,” he told
The New Yorker. “Like, no one’s skull is symmetrical. Mine is all over the place . . . and my one hip’s higher than the other.”
While Cooper may have a hard time convincing the world that he’s deformed, he never seems entirely on the level. He exudes confidence with a megawatt charm that doesn’t exactly inspire trust. Which is what makes him such an intriguing screen presence. And as he expands his range in a prolific string of movie roles, he seems determined to scuff up his image. In the car-chase action comedy Hit and Run, which opened last week, Cooper is almost unrecognizable as a nasty, blond-dreadlocked gangster on a mission of vengeance. And in The Words, opening next week, he stars as a struggling writer who becomes a bestselling author after stumbling across a lost manuscript and taking credit for a novel he didn’t write.
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, June 29, 2012 at 1:40 PM - 0 Comments
I’ve seen Take This Waltz twice, first at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, and more recently while preparing a feature, Marriage Polley Style, on writer-director Sarah Polley. Between TIFF coverage and writing that feature, I feel a bit Waltzed-out. But I haven’t actually weighed in with a review, until now. Today the film finally opens, nine months after its festival premiere.
People often ask me if I see movies more than once before reviewing them. The answer: if necessary. When months elapse between the premiere and the commercial release, you need to refresh your memory. The thing is, a movie inevitably changes on second viewing. They get better or worse. I had mixed feelings about Take This Waltz on first viewing, and still do. But the second time around, I liked it a whole lot better.
Here’s the deliberately non-committal capsule review I wrote during TIFF: “Sarah Polley’s second feature marks a bold departure. It’s as expansive, reckless and flamboyant as her debut feature (Away From Her) was intimate, restrained and sombre. Michelle Williams stars as Margot, a Toronto woman whose cozy marriage to Mr. Nice Guy—a cookbook author played with stoic sincerity by Seth Rogen—is threatened as Margo tiptoes into a slow-burn summer romance with the dreamboat next door (Luke Kirby). With its giddy spirit of hometown rapture—throwing Sarah Silverman into an aquafit class scored by the Parachute Club—Take This Waltz lacks the discipline of her Alice Munro adaptation. But Polley braves some highly charged personal terrain, plunging into the deep end of marital angst, as her heroine is torn between domestic comfort and adulterous fantasy.”
On first viewing, I felt the movie was too long and discursive. And the story arc of Sarah Silverman’s character—Lou’s alcoholic sister—seemed too tangential. Also, as a tale of romantic frustration, Take This Waltz can be frustrating. As Margot is torn between her stolid husband and her fantasy suitor, I found it hard to root for either alternative. You almost wish someone else would come along. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 10:57 AM - 0 Comments
The real life anti-hero of ‘Citizen Gangster’ was no Clyde Barrow—just a failed actor
Edwin Boyd wanted to be famous. He succeeded, up to a point, by becoming the most notorious bank robber the country has ever seen—not quite the Hollywood star of his dreams. After quitting his job as a Toronto transit driver and making a stab at an acting career, the Second World War veteran staged a string of ﬂamboyant holdups between 1949 and 1951 that made him a front-page folk hero. Inspired by James Cagney gangster movies, Boyd treated his armed withdrawals as performance, wearing theatrical greasepaint, vaulting bank counters, and ﬂirting with tellers. But after two jailbreaks and the largest manhunt in Canadian history, he didn’t get a Hollywood ending. Instead of being cut down in a Bonnie and Clyde blaze of gunﬁre, he surrendered without a struggle when police surprised him asleep in bed. After 15 years in prison, he was paroled to Vancouver Island—forced to mask his celebrity with an assumed name—and cared for the disabled until his death, in 2002, at the ripe age of 88.
Finally he’s found his way onto the big screen, in Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster, a stylish and powerful feature debut by Canadian writer-director Nathan Morlando that opens this week. Portrayed as a dashing depressive by Scott Speedman (Barney’s Version), this sad outlaw is a far cry from James Cagney or Clyde Barrow. Afﬂicted by post-traumatic stress disorder, he’s an overzealous breadwinner addicted to the rush of robbing banks. In the holdups, set to a pounding score of contemporary rock, he waves a gun around—a souvenir German Luger—but shoots no one. A single bullet is ﬁred when one of Boyd’s gang kills a cop then feels an instant shudder of remorse. How Canadian is that?
The movie, which won best Canadian ﬁrst feature at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, received mixed reviews in the U.S., where it was released last month as Citizen Gangster—Boyd’s name, which would draw a blank across the border, was erased from the title. American critics seemed puzzled that a bank-robber movie could be so “melancholy,” a word that recurs in positive and negative notices. “This unusually cerebral crime movie chooses psychic pain over public-enemy thrills,” said the New York Times. “It was a perfect line,” says Morlando. “That was the intention. I guess they’re just not into that. It’s like, ‘Oh man, why didn’t he do more bank-robbing in the ﬁlm?’ ”
By Brian D. Johnson - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:29 AM - 0 Comments
Michelle Yeoh stars as Burmese freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi in The Lady, a new bio-pic by French director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element). The daughter of Aung San, the assassinated founder of Burma’s independence movement, Suu Kyi leads the oppositional National League for Democracy. After going home to Burma in 1988 to nurse her dying mother, she became swept up in the democracy movement. She spent 15 of the past 25 years under house arrest, and was most recently released Nov. 13, 2010. David Thewlis co-stars with Yeoh as Michael Aris, Suu Kyi’s British husband, who died of prostate cancer in 1999, in the thick of negotiating with Burmese authorities to visit his wife for the last time in Burma.
Last September, before The Lady‘s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, I interviewed Yeoh and Thewlis:
Q: Michelle, how did you get cast?
Yeo: There was no hesitation: this was the role I’d been waiting for. In Asia we don’t have many iconic heroines. It makes you wonder, why didn’t we think of it before? But we’ve been very lucky with the timing. Luc [Besson] has always been a great friend and a mentor. He’s very savvy about what to do with scripts like this. People steer away from making movies about people who are still alive. You have to have all the rights. The last thing you want is someone putting an injunction on it, and then you’re stuck. As Luc got to know the story better, he fell in love with the script along with Virginie, his producer and his wife. Then I was completely taken unawares when he said he was thought he would direct the film. For us, it’s become more than just a film. It’s really become a commitment driven by passion, driven by how we feel about the subject matter, which is freedom that we enjoy without even having to think about it. It’s swept us into this whole new place. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:25 PM - 0 Comments
Bingham Ray, one of the most beloved champions of American independent cinema has died. Ray, co-founder of October Films and lately executive-director of the San Francisco Film Society, suffered a stroke Friday while attending the Sundance Film Festival. He died today in hospital surrounded by family. He was 57.
While Harvey Weinstein is the only indie mogul to become famous, we’ve seen less celebrated U.S. distribution executives driven by a passion for the art, men like Tom Bernard and Michael Barker of Sony Classics. Bingham Ray was one of them. I met him when I was researching my history of the Toronto International Film Festival, Brave Films Wild Nights: 25 Years of Festival Fever (2000). He was a generous interview, a joy to talk to, and bracingly candid. Here’s a passage from the book about a legendary bidding war between Bingham and Harvey Weinstein for Robert Duvall’s The Apostle at the 1997 edition of TIFF:
“. . . By midnight Miramax and October were slugging it out. Harvey Weinstein was in New York, bargaining by phone—he had watched The Apostle at a simultaneous private screening that night. Bingham Ray, October’s buyer, had left the Toronto premiere after forty-five minutes to make his bid. He was desperate to get the film. Octdober had just been bought by Universal that summer and was itching to take on Miramax. ‘We were dealing with the studio’s money, the house money,’ Ray explains, ‘and we wanted to stir it up to send a signal. There are all kinds of reasons to buy movies. The right reasons are because you love them and there’s an audience for them and you can build long-lasting relationships with the people who made them. Then there’s just trying to get on the map in a big, sexy way. October wasn’t bought by Universal to be a nice high-end art-house company. They wanted a vehicle to really compete with Miramax. I think that’s folly. Harvey had become a serious mogul. At October we were just getting our feet wet.’ Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 11:59 PM - 6 Comments
By the end of the Toronto International Film Festival, Shame was no longer just a movie. It was The Most Talked About Movie At TIFF. Its star, Michael Fassbender, had been named best actor at the Venice Film Festival. That buzz, and the film’s stark portrayal of sex addiction, put it on the top of everyone’s must-see list. Not to mention that it’s the second feature from British art-star-turned-auteur Steve McQueen, who made such an incendiary debut in 2008 with Hunger (also starring Fassbender, in a stunt-like tour de force as hunger-striking IRA martyr Bobby Sands).
When I first saw Shame, at TIFF, I found much about it amazing and admirable, but I was left cold. Despite all the carnal eye candy and sleek Manhattan visuals, the film’s descent into a hell of loveless sex seemed desperately bleak. What’s worse, I was disappointed by my disappointment, as if it were a personal failing akin to that of the film’s protagonist. For fans of Shame, that would just be proof that the film was doing its job. Art, after all, is meant to disturb. “You say Fassbender’s character is shallow and soulless? Well, of course he is! Welcome to the real world!” Yet something still felt not right with the film that I couldn’t put my finger on. When I came out of it, my first thought was that I wouldn’t have to see it again, or want to. But as time went on I felt so conflicted about it that eventually, I did. Now I finally have an opinion or two. Continue…
By Patricia Treble - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 3 Comments
Two new biographies and a film by Madonna attempt to change our perception of ‘that woman’
What a difference a year makes. At last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Wallis Simpson was portrayed in The King’s Speech as a vulgar Yankee huntress who’d so bewitched Edward VIII that the handsome king chucked everything to be with her. This year another film about those pivotal events in 1936 was centre stage at TIFF, but this time, in Madonna’s W.E., the twice-divorced American is a vulnerable woman whose love for Edward sparked only jealousy and outrage from his family. The new Wallis-friendly attitude is a sea change for a woman reviled to mythic extremes for decades—she was a Nazi! A lesbian! A man! A prostitute! In The King’s Speech, the monarch’s fascination for her is attributed to “certain skills, acquired in an establishment in Shanghai.” It was “a terrible portrayal,” recalls Hugo Vickers, a historical adviser on the Oscar-winning movie. (Obviously, some of his suggestions were ignored.)
W.E., for which Vickers also gave advice, isn’t alone in re-evaluating “that woman” as the 75th anniversary (in December) of the abdication approaches. Two new biographies, including Behind Closed Doors by Vickers, present Simpson in a sympathetic light. The new tone can be partly explained by the fact that the passage of time, and decades of royal scandals, have softened once harsh attitudes. New interviews and documents have also cast her motives and actions in a more favourable light. “I can’t believe that such a thing could have happened to two people who got along so well,” she wrote plaintively to her second husband, Ernest, about their marriage shortly after the abdication, in a previously unpublished letter. Far from an uncaring woman who’d flung off her spouse, she was in fact full of regret: “It never should have been like it is now.”
The abdication story still fascinates, largely because it is so unique. “No man ever gave up so much for one woman,” says Vickers, who’s written about the couple for nearly four decades. “And we don’t understand why. These things don’t happen normally.” Simpson was and still is “a very provocative character,” Madonna said at TIFF. “She is also a mysterious and enigmatic creature, not conventionally beautiful, not young, twice divorced.”
By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM - 1 Comment
I rode my bike a lot, ate a ton of free food, and became best friends with Angelina Jolie
5. BREAKING AWAY
TIFF caused major downtown traffic mayhem. It was so nuts that my well-tempered colleague Brian D. Johnson even blogged about how annoying it was trying to travel from event to event. Not for this gal, though. I rode my bike to every downtown press conference, interview, film screening and red carpet and then hauled myself back uptown to the Maclean’s office, sometimes clocking in more than 25 km a day. I even biked to all the parties all dolled up in a dress and heels. And didn’t I feel oh-so-smug while I passed gridlocked cars! That is, until I fell off my bike standing still at an intersection. That’s right, I was stationary before I fell.
4. FREE FOOD! Continue…
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 4:27 PM - 1 Comment
Kathy Griffin would drop F-bombs whenever the crowd stopped laughing at her dirty jokes
I’ve been told that last year’s amFAR Cinema Against AIDS Gala at The Carlu was one of the most dazzling attractions at TIFF. (No wonder, considering tickets start at $1,000 and tables go for $25,000.) This year, more than 500 guests, mostly dressed in black ties and really fancy floor-length gowns, saddled up to eat dinner (more on that later), watch host Kathy Griffin swear like a f–king trucker, listen to amFAR chairman Kenneth Cole give a fantastic speech on recent advances in AIDS research, try to get a photo with amFAR chair Kim Cattrall and watch a pro (Lydia Fenet of Christie’s) conduct a spirited live auction on Sunday night. By the time it was over, $800,000 was raised for AIDS research. Not too shabby.
Leading up to the ballroom on the Carlu’s 7th floor is a long, dimly-lit corridor outfitted in black and purple with touches of old Hollywood glam, like plushy black round settees and pretty ladies dresed like movie confectionary girls from the 1930s. There were plenty of recognizable sorts there, like Suzanne Rogers, dressed in a Kelly Green floor-length gown with a bejewelled neck, and actor Brian Cox, who I watched like a creep in the shadows for ten minutes. Continue…
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 1:38 PM - 0 Comments
The director and actor sit down with Tom Henheffer
By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
‘It was a bit schizophrenic’
Yesterday, as four other reporters and I sat on plush sofas and stools around a leather coffee table in the mezzanine lounge of the Park Hyatt, Ralph Fiennes walked in—no, glided in—and sat at the head of the table. I was the last one to introduce myself: “I’m Jessica Allen from Maclean’s magazine.” Squinting his blue eyes for a moment, as though he was going through the file folders of information in his mind, he responded in a soft voice, “Ah yes, I know Maclean’s.”
By Andrew Tolson - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 1:20 PM - 2 Comments
Movie stars don’t have a lot of time.
When you’re photographing them, there’s no asking about their Aunt Phyllis or how their golf swing is progressing. Yes, there’s small talk of the ‘How are you liking Toronto?’ variety, but really, they just want you to get the shot and move on. They have a red carpet to walk, scripts to read, multi-million dollar deals to sign, and, presumably, eating and sleeping to do. For the Movie Star, this is all part of their job; the promoting, the glad-handing and the quickie hotel room portraits. It’s all business.
Which is why you only have one minute to take the photograph.
For the Movie Star, there are varying degrees of involvement in the shoot. Most endure it like a grumpy kid having their picture taken with Santa Claus. Some enjoy the exercise, such as David Cronenberg, who cordially offered me his very effective Death Stare. Sarah Silverman had fun posing as if she were cramped into a photo booth. For some Movie Stars of a certain vintage, it’s about controlling their image: Juliette Binoche insisted on critiquing every frame and pronounced I “had the shot,” when I wasn’t sure I did.
(She was right. I did.)
But during that single minute I have with the Movie Star, it’s always an odd sensation, being so close to someone who is normally forty feet tall. Because after you’ve been face to face with them, in some anonymous hotel room or bland boardroom, you can’t help but feel the Movie Star seems, well, kind of normal.
Follow me: @andrewtolson @macleansphoto
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 12:55 PM - 4 Comments
Our intrepid reporter chats up Ralph Fiennes, Brian Cox and Jessica Chastain
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, September 12, 2011 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
At TIFF2011, the star of ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ sat down with Brian D. Johnson
By Tom Henheffer - Monday, September 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM - 0 Comments
The Sex Pistols alum and star of ‘Sons of Norway’ sits down with Tom Henheffer