I’ve been attending Toronto Film Festival parties for years, and I’ve learned never to come on time because the door goons always say “we’re not ready to let anyone in yet.” The rule of thumb is that you have to stand around for 10 or 15 minutes. And it’s quite rude. If I were to throw an event like this I wouldn’t dream of asking journalist guests, all of whom are on a fairly tight clock, to stand around like chumps trying to get into Studio 54. But the people who throw these events do this damn near every time.
The invitation for last night’s Burn After Reading party said 11 pm. Fool that I am, I timed my arrival so I was there precisely on time, as was MTV’s Josh Horowitz. After bitching and whining for five minutes we were asked (along with several others) to clear the sidewalk area, and then to please stand off to the side, and then to please stand further to the side so as to not block the adjacent driveway, and then to please stand next to the metal cattle fence to the other side of the entrance.
And then one of the goons said, “No cameras will be allowed inside.” For a second or two I considered saying something smart-assy, but wisdom prevailed. But at that point I was also berating myself for not acting like a man of true character and gravitas and walking away proud.
Once inside, however, the party was very nice. Cool climate, not too crowded, delectable Asian finger food, fetching waitresses, delicious junior-sized Cosmopolitans. Horowitz and I spoke for a short while to the great Richard Jenkins (a serious Oscar hopeful for his performance in The Visitor), and also to Ethan Coen. But for the most part journalists talked to journalists and talent — Joel Coen, John Malkovich., Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton — talked to talent (and to producers, managers and agents).
I’ve taken photos at these events before and it was no big deal, but a little voice told me not to. I think it was mainly because of the white-haired, tuxedo-wearing Malkovich, whom I’m afraid of because of his intensity or something. I noticed that McDormand (who looked great) had her hand touching her cheek and chin a lot — a sign of boredom and/or slight discomfort.