Film Scouts Diaries

1995 Toronto Film Festival Diaries
Henri Behar At The Toronto Film Festival: Day 8

by Henri Béhar

Thursday, September 14, 1995

Christopher Walken came into Toronto to do the shuffle. The promotional shuffle, that is. "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead" was being screened at the Festival, but "The Prophecy" has just been commercially released. Gary Fleder's "Denver" is a criminal caper, Gregory Widen's "Prophecy" an apocalyptic thriller. In the latter, Walken is a quadriplegic mob boss, in the former an archangel angry at humans for stealing God's love (don't ask). In both, he's cruel, capricious, powerful --"That's just the way I look, I guess"-- and witty. In real life, he's a sweetheart, he still moves like the dancer he once was, and he's funny, as in "zany", "mischievous" and "wicked". His timing is impeccable, albeit askew (check the "watch" scene in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction"). Someone please give this man a ferocious comedy -- get Billy Wilder on the phone!

Pity Walken didn't get to meet Canadian director John L'Ecuyer: his salty, amoral low-budget comedy on junkie paranoia called "Curtis's Charm" would be right up Walken's alley. L'Ecuyer's face, rather cute, actually, looks lived in, to say the least, much like that of junkie poet-cult rocker Jim ("Basketball Diaries") Carroll on whose short story "Curtis's Charm" is based. Just in case you wonder, L'Ecuyer's next project, which deals with Montreal street life is titled "Confessions of a Rabid Dog".

Dinner in honor of Chinese director Wang Kar-wai --in an Italian restaurant, God knows why-- hosted by Quentin Tarantino. Wang Kar-wai's new feature "Fallen Angels" is shown at the Festival, but his preceding opus, "Chungking Express" (don't miss it); will soon be distributed by the new unit Miramax has set up for Q.T. to play with and release all the foreign flicks that the "Reservoir Fiction" man keeps raving about but are rarely seen Stateside.

Sitting next to Tarantino, actress Mira Sorvino didn't quite know how to handle the flood of compliments about her performance as the porno-star-cum-a-tad-call-girl wit the Betty-Boop voice in Woody Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite". "I've made nine films and been Rob Morrow's wife in 'Quiz Show', but I guess this is the one that clicked." she whispered into a friend's ear. The ravers were surprised to discover Sorvino's voice was about an octave lower, but not half as stunned as the diners when focusing back on the table, Sorvino started chatting--in mandarin!-- with part of the Wang Kar-wai entourage. As it turned out, Sorvino went to Harvard and majored in Chinese.

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