Saturday, September 08, 2007
Toronto Diary: Foster care, Canadian-style
The best and worst thing about taking the red-eye on a business trip is that it allows you to hit the ground running. Yesterday, I ran so fast the wheels nearly broke off.

After checking in to my hotel (by the way, as you will learn a bit later there are two Hotel Intercontinentals in Toronto -- the one where all the stars do tons of press events, and the one where I am staying) I quickly made my way to the Varsity Screening Room No. 2 to watch the new Coen brothers masterpiece, "No Country For Old Men."

I say "masterpiece" because a lesser film would have lost my jet-lagged attention to a well deserved slumber in a matter of minutes. Instead, I was met with a film so nuanced and powerful in its execution that I didn't even notice there wasn't a soundtrack. Javier Bardem's performance is perfect, subtle and downright scary. Make no mistake, this is an extremely violent film -- which is usually not my favorite kind of movie -- but in this case the bloodshed is well explained and consequences are shown, somehow making it much more tolerable, even at 11 a.m.

After the screening, I ran like a jackrabbit on fire to make my interviews for the new black-and-white feature, "Control." It wasn't until I arrived to the Hotel Intercontinental Spa and was asked if I would care for a cleansing men's facial that I realized I was on the wrong 3rd floor of the WRONG Hotel Intercontinental, and that there are in fact, two of these delightful establishments in Toronto.

Rushing to the appropriate hotel, complete with singed fur, is when I came to the quiet understanding that this year's film festival was going to be fast and crazy and completely out of control. I took a deep breath and just accepted it.

Luckily, the studios are now offering an abundance of pre-festival screenings in a variety of cities around the country in order to give overbooked, overwhelmed journalists the ability to focus on interviews rather than seeing movies ... at the Toronto Film Festival. Does that seem odd to anyone else?

In any case, I screened the new Warner Bros. adrenaline flick "The Brave One" nearly three weeks ago. (Warner Bros., it should be noted, is a unit of Time Warner, as is CNN -- ed.) Therefore, it was a fun challenge to prepare a solid interview with its star, Jodie Foster, this morning before our chat.

Ultimately, I settled on the themes of courage and heroism, and thought these topics would unfold nicely in a conversation with the acclaimed actress. I imagine Jodie Foster is a hero to a lot of people and the character she plays in the film, an average woman with a taste for revenge, certainly is.

After 10 minutes with the illustrious Ms. Foster I learned three things: (1) She is simultaneously vulnerable and powerful, a convenient trick for an actor; (2) when you ask her about her significant other she very politely declines to answer; and (3) she has "classy and famous" down to a science. A few other stars I've chatted with in my life would benefit greatly from a little Foster-care.
Wow. You asked her about her significant other? Nice work.
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