WARNING: Shameless self-promotion ahead.
I was on CBC Newsworld today (a semi-regular gig I've landed) talking about TIFF. Well, talking about the celebrities at TIFF, how it shoud be renamed The Brad Pitt International Film Festival given the buzz surrounding his arrival. Anyway, this is my tenth TIFF and I was asked if it ever gets old (it doesn't) and what I liked most. I gave the usual "the opportunity to watch movie for 10 days and perhaps discover some new great filmmaker blah blah blah..."
But there's something else I get a real kick out of - the accidental random celebrity encounter. Yes, my job lets me interview stars all the time (and that's really cool), but I'm just like anybody else when I bump into a star by accident.
Which leads me to tonight. I was at the Hazelton Hotel to see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (a long title fitting for a fim that runs 160 minutes), starring Pitt. It's the, well, technically it's a western. It's about Jesse James, obviously, and there are six shooters and horses and such. But it's really an epic (and paradoxically intimate) art film, a character study of what idol worship can be twisted into (Bob Ford, played in a remarkable performance by Casey "My Big Bro's Ben But Don't Hold That Against Me" Affleck, was a member of the James Gang who could never figure out whether he wanted to be like Jesse or actually be Jesse). Appropriate given how we treat our celebrities.
Well, while I was waiting for the late screening to start in the swank boutique hotel's subterranean theatre, I hung out in the lobby facing onto Yorkville. Also in the Lobby was Terrence Howard (you know him from Hustle & Flow). The man is smooth as caramel, like Billy Dee Williams was until he played Lando. Anyway, fans are crowding the red carpet hoping for somebody, anybody worth seeing comes out. So Howard goes out and spends a good 10 minutes siging autographs and posing for photos. He gave the fans what they wanted,a little contact high, and I'm sure he got a buzz as well. Who wouldn't? But the point is he didn't have to do that and he didn;t have to be that gracious about it.
But for the 60 or 80 fans in front of the hotel (and myself inside), well, he put them in cloud city.