A little after 9 pm I followed Truth director-writer James Vanderbilt and producer Brad Fischer to the Harmony Gold theatre, where a showing of their film was just finishing. We ran into a spiffily dressed Elizabeth Moss next to the rear parking-lot entrance. And then we all moved inside to the “green room.” There we found a very casually dressed Cate Blanchett, who looked, in the coolest way imaginable, like she’d just gotten off a plane from Australia and hadn’t had time to change into uptown duds. Oversized sweater, dress of some kind, white sneakers. She probably didn’t care one way or the other. They were only going to chat about the film with a bunch of slumbering SAG members so what did it matter if she looked red-carpet ready? This is what serious artists do — they wear whatever and shine the dress code when the mood suits. They do whatever the fuck.

(l. to r.) Truth director-writer James Vanderbilt, costar Elizabeth Moss, star Cate Blanchett during last night’s post-screening discussion at Harmony Gold.

I had spoken to Blanchett two and a half years ago during an after-party at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, but celebrities don’t hang onto this stuff. (The average famous actor says hello to thousands of unfamiliar faces every year.) I told her that I’d fallen for Truth in Toronto and had seen it twice so far. She asked if I’d read anything in-depth about it, and I confessed I hadn’t even read Mary Mapes‘ book (“Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power“). She said she’s read Mapes’ daily notes to herself about the events as they were unfolding and was struck by how meticulous and even-toned they seemed. “And then she went home and wrote the book and let go with the anger,” Blanchett said (or something close that).

I loved how Blanchett didn’t smile after our initial greeting — straight from the shoulder, no bullshit pleasantries. Maybe this was because I wasn’t smiling, but the first thing you always notice with strong actors like Blanchett is that they’re hardcore and that they look right into you. The expression on her face reminded me of the look in an ex-girlfriend’s eyes, a look that always seemed to say “so what are you feeling?….where are you really?…I’m assuming you’re not here to fuck around to just give it to me, whatever it is.”