When it comes to power-punching premiere parties, last night was a wrap for this TIFF 2019 season. (Side note: Don’t you love that we call TIFF a season unto itself? Winter/Spring/Summer/TIFF/Fall – there’s a new name idea for the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, the brand’s flagship based in the company’s home town: Four Point Five Seasons).
But the scene isn’t fading to black just yet, so no need to walk off stage right. Stars are still hidden in plain sight and will be floating around the city on Sept. 11, with a handful of notables scheduled to fly out on Thursday. This includes Timothee Chamalet, nominated for breakout star in the partying category, (a totally an un-scientific award but one given by yours truly). This makes me sad, though I’m sure Lily Rose Depp will be hella happy.
Let’s get to what you’re here for, shall we?
On Tuesday afternoon, Nespresso hosted another event that is part of its 4 th annual Coffee With Creators panel, this time for Human Capital. Nespresso is a proud supporter and and official coffee sponsor of TIFF. Cast members Peter Sarsgaard, Alex Wolff and Maya Hawke – daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman – were there to talk shop over coffee. They sat on a makeshift stage, in an intimate room on the ground floor of the historic Storys building. The room was subtly branded, and fruit and light snacks were served.
Before the panel wrapped, two journalists were allowed to pose questions. I asked Maya if her famous parents had given her any advice, since she’s at the beginning of her acting career.
“[Don’t] make any choices that don’t bring you joy,” she said. “Never do something because someone else tells you to or it’s a good move. Do things because there’s something about it that’s calling you to it and because it brings you joy. And if you keep doing that, then it’s pretty difficult to get too far off track to the core of who you are as a person.”
Liev Schreiber wasn’t there. He hadn’t landed in Toronto yet, but he arrived later in the day for the film’s premiere and afterparty at Mira, where I caught him drinking a Grolsch and chatting casually with others in attendance.
How’s this for some celebrity TIFF season connect the dots? Liev played one of the killers in Scream 2, which stared Neve Campbell (who I ran into at the afterparty for The Personal History of David Copperfield hosted at Weslodge on TIFF night one). Neve was crowned “ scream queen” for that film’s series, which was a title previously held by Jamie Lee Curtis (who I caught lunching at the luxe Louix, Louis restaurant atop the St. Regis Hotel last Friday). Adam Sandler had dinner at that same spot at to celebrate his birthday on the same day as the premiere for Uncut Gems and before his afterparty. (You’ll recall I attended and wrote about it for your reading pleasure on Tuesday.) While there, Jon Hamm popped by. Five years ago, he was up against Liev for an Emmy, though they both lost to Bryan Cranston. By the way, Bryan once sat in a panel on The Graham Norton Show with a few famous faces including Jane Fonda, who is in Toronto today with L’Oreal where she will sit on – you guessed it – a panel.
Back to last night. I brought pop-singer and pretty young thing Scott Helman to be my arm-candy. He joined me on the town as we party hopped and hopped and hopped.
The night kicked off at the swanky Akira back in Bisha Hotel where Audi Canada sponsored the Motherless Brooklyn pre-premiere party. After getting snapped on the red carpet, we headed up a windy golden staircase and entered the restaurant, where a three-piece band was playing. This, bar none, was the most elegant and regal party TIFF 2019 has seen. There was food aplenty from Michelin Star Chef Akira Back.
Once again, Edward Norton was the first cast member to arrive. He stood by his table and chatted in a similar sentiment to the night before. Motherless Brooklyn cast member Gugu Mbatha-Raw turned heads in a breathtaking gown. She told me it was Rodarte, to which I said “Of course it is!” and we had a little ladies who lunch moment.
Willem Dafoe casually strolled in, and immediately went to his table and had a slice of the restaurant’s signature mushroom tuna pizza, which was served off a menu by Akira. Guests gathered around the sushi table for what I overheard from a foodie friend was the best food served all TIFF, and I caught up with Roots Canada CEO Michael Budman for a hot minute while he was at the bar ordering some sake. The party cleared out around 8:45 p.m. so everyone could get to the premiere, which was right around the corner.
Scott and I were joined by writer Shinan Govani as we headed to RBC House for the premiere afterparty for Judy. We ran into Sarah Gadon while walking over there. Her gala for American Woman is Sept. 11 at Roy Thompson Hall. We also bumped into Bernadette Morra, FASHION Magazine ’s Editor In Chief, who was joined by Jimmy Molloy, her charming husband. They had just let out from the film’s premiere and nothing but great reviews. They told us Renee Zellweger received a standing ovation.
We were transported to a different time and place at RBC House. The room had been changed again to really capture the essence of the film. Delicious jazz music played, and everyone turned their heads when Renee walked into the room, wearing the same perfectly elegant gown she sported on the red carpet.
When a celeb like her is in an intimate room, the energy very obviously shifts. even if it’s with fellow notables in their own right. She is the sun in which we surround ourselves. She was a gracious guest, and happily posed for photos for the in-house photographer. She sat with one leg crossed over the other, and made me realize I need to work on my “sitting like a lady” game.
Scott and I jetted over to Mira when I got word the cast had arrived for the premiere afterparty – sponsored, yet again, by Audi. As we exited our black car, I let him get out first, and some awaiting fans (though surely not for him) took some snaps. But once inside, a few guests approached him and he played it cool as he sipped his signature cocktail of choice: gin and soda.
Maggie Gyllenhaal was there. She stood proudly beside her husband Peter, talking in a front corner. Later, the fans outside ferociously snapped pictures when the power couple exited out the front. Liev was enjoying himself, sipping on the aforementioned beer. The bash was more a pleasant hangout than a party, so we headed out right after Liev left- not with him, though that could have been a hoot!
We went back to Bisha Hotel, this time for a party in Mister C to celebrate the premiere of Harriet. Guests drank Cîroc Vodka cocktails ,and Diagio was a sponsor. The DJ was your boy and mine, Stokes, who I introduced you to back on the weekend. (You’ll remember he researches films and what the cast likes to listen to and curates a playlist that will keep everyone on their toes.)
I headed to Soho House to start to wind down the night around 2 a.m. I can’t report who was inside, as that’s against house rules. I will say, though, there was a star-studded party that had a strictly-enforced guest list and a ton of security outside and inside. I caught several eager Torontonians trying to work their best lines in the hopes of getting past the velvet rope, but no dice.
I’ll be continuing to share tidbits of information over at @HelloCanada on Twitter, and will be reporting back on all things Jane Fonda from the L’Oréal Paris panel dubbed “In Conversation with Jane, hosted by CTV’s Marilyn Denis.” Be sure to follow the hashtag #jensTIFFbits for sightings and the like as they unfold.