There’s nothing quite so humiliating as exiting the Hotel Intercontinental, high on the buzz of interviewing some director or actor, and seeing the dozens of autograph-hounds and paparazzi size you up and realize you’re nobody. It’s so bad, I’ve once or twice slid out the back or side exits, just to avoid that little punch to the ego.
Inside, it really is a circus. Publicists whispering madly into their cellphones. Photographers weighed down by their equipment. Hotel brass checking you up and down to see if you belong there or not (especially outside the entrance to the restaurant that leads to the courtyard).
Oh, and once in that restaurant, anything can happen. When I was interviewing Kevin Zegers (way more beautiful than any man deserves to be), he got up, mid-sentence, and chatted up Ryan Gosling. Then the two got their pic snapped by some lucky photog. Sigourney Weaver sat stiffly next to me on a sofa, her body language saying: “Respect my privacy and I’ll respect yours.” Meanwhile, her Girl In The Park co-star, Kate Bosworth, was out basking in the courtyard, smiling and posing like a modern-day Marilyn Monroe (but too thin).
It’s so much more of a kick seeing them here than in the dull hotel rooms, where they’re stationed, ready to do their 20th interview of the day. I even spotted Ben Affleck with a baby stroller at Avenue Rd. and Bloor.
So far, two of my favourite TIFF quotes aren’t even from movie stars. This one comes from a suit one morning talking to another suit: “Have a really wonderful flight. And in the future, stop the alcohol. If you see me getting wasted, cut me off, okay?” (What were the ramifications of that booze? A botched deal? A spouse's scorn? Damn – I’ll never know.)
The other came from some silly autograph hound outside the Intercon. “Hey – it’s Bridget Jones’s dad! Can I get your autograph, Bridget Jones’s dad?”
Jim Broadbent, star of Moulin Rouge, Oscar-winner for Iris and one of the best British character actors of his generation, agreed. Bridget Jones’s dad, besides being a somebody, is a class act.