Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Toronto Film Festival Diaries
Day 4

by Henri Béhar

Toronto, Sept. 7, 1997

The traditional picnic at Norman Jewison's Film Center, nicknamed Sundance Institute North. Champagne, corn on the cob and veggie hot-dogs, courtesy of Il Fornello. As usual, a very relaxed affair. One recognizes, waves at, but doesn't bug William Hurt, Farrah Fawcett, Robert Duvall, Amy Madigan, and the like. A slightly embarrassing moment when the winners of the fund-raising-for-the-Center raffle turn out to be Michael Jewison (son of Norman) and Wayne Clarkson, head of the Center. Both immediately, and gracefully, relinquish their awards; Clarkson sells his prize - a one-year Lexus lease - and gives the $7000 to the Center.

At the press conference for Erin Digman's "Loved", William Hurt, flanked by co-stars Robin Wright Penn and Amy Madigan, firmly reminds the assistance of press conference etiquette. When, as he is answering a question from a journalist, a photographer stands up and fires away in close-up, Hurt shoots: ´ Do you mind if I look at her when I talk to her? I can't really if you're in my face. ' There was spontaneous applause. Years ago, Hurt would have simply darted out of the room.

Robert Duvall's ´ The Apostle ' is a strange object. A cousin, of sorts, of John Huston's ´ Wise Blood '. Set in the deep south, it probes into the mind of a devout Pentacostal preacher from Texas, whose devotion to Christ is unquestionned, but whose commitment to his beliefs at times borders on madness. A rich, complex, multi-layered portrayal ´ of a man who can be maddeningly self-righteous, but also capable of the most touching actions ', writes Piers Handling in the Festival catalogue. Duvall is serving triple duty here: he plays the lead, he wrote the script, he directed the piece, definitely a labor of love, since he's wanted to make it for fifteen years. Make that quadruple duty: on top of the above, Duvall financed the film himself and managed to convince Farrah Fawcett, Miranda Richardson and Billy Bob Thornton to embark on this film adventure. The good news is, After the screening, David Linde, of Good Machine, acquires the rights to the film worldwide.

Catching a glimpse of ´ The Tango Lesson ' by and with Sally (´ Orlando ') Potter. Gorgeous to look at, beautifully produced (by Simona Benzakein). Potter a bit omnipresent, Argentinian-born, Paris-based dancer Pablo Veron superb.

Dropping in on Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce to say hello between two interviews in the midst of that inhuman marathon called a ´ junket '. Both are gearing up for the gala screening of ´ The Edge ', which stars Alec Baldwin - husband, as we all know, of their ´ L.A. Confidential ' co-star Kim Basinger. ´ He came to our movie, we go to his, ' Crowe states as he takes a deep breath and another cup of coffee before diving in his next interview.

Major buzz around Thom Fitzgerald's ´ The Hanging Garden '. Lining up to see the Canadian film. Sold out.

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