Peter Hedges’ latest film, Ben is Back, premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and we were lucky enough to sit down with one of the Film’s stars, Courtney B. Vance. The Film explores the many ways drug use effects not just the addict but also their family which prompted Mr. Vance to open-up about not only his preparation for the Film but also his views on parenting and family.
SIOBHÁN: You’ve worked on Stage, Television, Film. How does your preparation differ depending on the medium?
VANCE: It does. I remember for Lucky Guy I tried to do a lot of research but there was nothing to be found on him so I had to back into him by listening to everything the Director, George C. Wolfe, was saying about him. With Johnny Cochrane and OJ Simpson – I could have looked at all the footage but I thought that would put me in my head too much. So I chose to read the book a couple times and I found a kernel in there and I said “I’m going to trust that that’s enough to propel me in.” So really it depends – a play is different than film and film is slower, and you have more time than with television. It depends but ultimately it really comes down to knowing just enough we we can get in there and play and see what the other actor or actors and the director and the production designer and what everybody’s bringing. Then to be able to be – that’s where potentially the magic – you have to leave room for the magic to happen. But with a play you actually have the play to take you through every night and then to see what happens to people. With Film [and Television] you have to depend on the directors,“Ok where am I now and what’s happening here and what’s coming up? Okay got it! Let’s go.” So it’s a little different.
SIOBHÁN: In the Film, your character is the hard nosed realist whereas Julia’s character is very much about the unconditional love – tough love – but still unconditional love. Where do you fall on that and which do you think is more realistic?
VANCE: I think they both have to be there. I think there are instances – and my wife [Angela Bassett) and I deal with this in our lives with our children – sometimes you have to be there as a soft cushion for them to fall into and sometimes… “You fall in here but let’s look after we’ve done this […] let’s talk it through. “You did this. What are some other options you could have done so that the next time it comes up – and it will come up again – a different colour, a different height, a different depth.” To be able to be discerning because eventually you need to be able to do this yourself. You have to be able navigate and that’s what we are really about raising children and young people to be fully functioning – to eventually be able to take over.
My mother passed away last year of ALS and they saw me take over for her because she couldn’t anymore. I had to make decisions for my mother with my sister and they saw that as children. They saw daddy, they saw Grandma is not as… She used to talk and now she’s not talking but you still had to go in. They still had to say good morning to Grandma, tell her what your day was like. And so that process, that circle of life, everything goes around in a circle and some days it may not be your best day you’ve had but it is a day and we’ll get through this to the other side. Knowing that with help – with the village – we can push through this and get through just about anything. It’s really about children knowing at base core they’re loved and based on that we gotta deal with this issue. If they know it’s done in a loving situation then we can ride through any storm.
Elevation Pictures release BEN IS BACKFriday, December 14, 2018.
And in a blink of an eye, another TIFF has passed and this one had us working right to the finish line! It’s only after the fact that we have a moment to take it all in how much we went through. We estimate double our average in Celebrity Snaps this year. That’s how star-studded TIFF ’18 was. It was that kind of a year!
We had the pleasure of previewing several of this year’s Awards Season contenders and we are waiting with baited breath to see A STAR IS BORN and GREEN BOOK, both outstanding, duke it out for Oscars glory in coming months. We loved both, are thrilled the latter was honoured with the People’s Choice Award at the Festival, but something about the former makes our heart sing. We cannot stop thinking about it or its Soundtrack. It takes a magical Film to do that.
Let’s relive some of my favourite star-studded moments of the Festival, as lensed through the Nikon D3400. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without this amazing camera which worked amazingly-well with our Blackberry Key 2 in terms of file transmission to ensure we were able to get our photos uploaded and edited within moments for you all to enjoy! The clarity of these snaps speak for themselves.
A STAR IS BORN Press Conference
We will never stop taking our signature Celebrity Selfies and TIFF ’18 was unforgettable even if we saw many returning faces. We wouldn’t have been camera-ready without the right gear and depending on each scenario, sometimes the Blackberry Key 2 worked best for those Selfies, sometimes the Nikon D3400 worked better. What matters is that more often than not, we got the snap! And many we did.
Here’s some of our faves!
Jamie Lee Curtis
John David Washington
Kelly Marie Tran
In case you missed our Television appearances during TIFF ’18 this is our first year hitting-up the three big media giants: Global, CITY and CP24 (Bell Media). Thrilled! Our brand continues to thrive as a Festival go-to and we are so happy for the recognition.
The time has arrived. We waited every year with baited breath for those Toronto International Film Festival guest announcements and finally they have been announced! While several marquee titles like Beautiful Boy, First Man, Destroyer, Wildlife, High Life, A Star is Born, If Beale Street Could Talk and Ben is Back embark on their Awards Season trails, Toronto once again readies itself for the massive onslaught of starpower and talent set to shut down the City post-Labour Day.
With multiple titles at the Festival, stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, Dev Patel, Amanda Steinberg, Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman are set to make the best of the Fest!
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mahershala Ali and Hilary Swank also will be having In-Conversations-With! More on that here.
Toronto’s own Drake also will introduced highly-buzzed MONSTERS AND MEN, Jason Reitman is back with fan favourite Live Read of The Breakfast Club and THE FIRST MAN will be presented at Ontario Place‘s Cinesphere!
Announced to attend TIFF ’18 earlier today are:
Who are you most excited to see?
Our Team are prepping feverishly for this our biggest and best year yet at TIFF as we get ready to bring you the buzz on all the biggest stars and Films of the Festival.
More on some of TIFF ’18’s most-talked-about titles here.
In the meantime, start planning your Festival, who and what you’ll see right here.
eOne Films x Mr. Will want to take Readers to see WONDER. Screenings take place Wednesday, November 15, 2017 in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Halifax and Victoria.
Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of AugustPullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie‘s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, please click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK and indicate your City. Re-Tweet this Tweet from @mrwillw for an extra chance!
eOne Films release WONDERFriday, November 17, 2017.
Right in time for Awards Season comes the release of the eagerly-awaited WONDER starring Mandy Patinkin, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts and our v. own Jacob Tremblay!
Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to find their compassion and acceptance, Auggie‘s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
See the Trailer:
eOne Films release WONDERFriday, November 17, 2017.
THIS IS HANDS DOWN THE BEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN!!! What starts off already as an amazing edition of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden and Gwen Stefani spirals into an epic explosion of starpower! What a brilliant solution to HOV lanes!!
Elevation Pictures + Mr. Will want to take Readers to an Advance Screening of Garry Marshall’s star-studded opus, MOTHER’S DAY! Bring your Mom, bring a friend!! Screenings take place in Halifax (Scotiabank), Victoria (Tilicum), Ottawa (Cineplex), Vancouver (Scotiabank), Toronto (Scotiabank), Winnipeg (St. Vital), Calgary (Sunridge Spectrum) and Edmonton (North Edmonton) on April 27, 2016.
MOTHER’S DAY stars Britt Robertson, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Timothy Olyphant, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis and is directed by Garry Marshall.
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK and indicate your City. For an extra chance you may click “share” from there or Tweet out the below:
http://www.mrwillwong.com/mothersday @MRWILLW wants us to #win Advance Screening Passes to see #MOTHERSDAY. Out 4.29.
Elevation Pictures release MOTHER’S DAYFriday, April 29, 2016.
Only Garry Marshall has enough power in Hollywood to make a Movie that has a Cast List that is longer than the actual Film Synopsis. We can’t wait to see MOTHER’S DAY. That’s right.
Following the lives of mothers and daughters in interconnecting stories leading up to Mother’s Day.
MOTHER’S DAY stars Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis, Britt Robertson, Timothy Olyphant, Shay Mitchell, Sarah Chalke, Jon Lovitz, Aasif Mandvi, Grayson Russell and Margo Martindale; Garry Marshall directs.
See the Trailer:
Elevation Pictures release MOTHER’S DAY on Friday, April 29, 2016.
eOne Films + Mr. Will want to take Readers to see one of this Fall’s most anticipated Thrillers, SECRET IN THEIR EYES. Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman. Casts don’t come more packed with star power than that! Screenings take place Thursday, November 19, 2015 in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa.
A tight-knit team of FBI investigators, along with their District Attorney supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered. Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games), and produced by Academy Award® winner Mark Johnson (Rain Man, “Breaking Bad”), Secret In Their Eyes is an intense, powerful, haunting thriller starring Academy Award® nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Academy Award® winners Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts.
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will on Facebook and state your city. For an extra chance, click “share” from there or Tweet out the below:
http://www.mrwillwong.com/secretintheireyes @mrwillw wants us to #win Advance Passes to see #SECRETINTHEIREYES. Out 11/20.
eOne Films release SECRET IN THEIR EYES on Friday, November 20, 2015.
Toronto rolled out the Pink Carpet for a v. special Guest tonight as the talented and equally beautiful Matt Bomer made his way in to promote HBO‘s next sure-fire Awards Season Vehicle, a Film Adaptation of TONY-winning Play, The Normal Heart.
If the thought-provoking Storyline set in the early ’80s amidst the onset of the AIDS Epidemic doesn’t move you, then maybe its Cast will. A brilliant Ensemble of Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff and Julia Roberts light-up the screen, telling a heartbreaking Tale about a Disease which some thirty-plus years a later is still at the forefront of debate despite several educational and medical advancements.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the piercingly blue-eyed Bomer – known best for his starring role in White Collar as Neal Caffrey and for a glimpse in Magic Mike – who plays Felix, opposite Ruffalo’s Ned Weeks. The latter isseen at the center of the Story as an Activist struggling to bring HIV/AIDS to the political forefront, while also facing crippling internal struggle within his group of Activists at once. Seen arriving tonight quietly also was Simon Halls, Bomer‘s Husband of three years.
Bomer tells me that he got much of his education about AIDS as a 14-year-old reading the original Play on which this Film is based. “It infuriated me growing-up in suburban Texas that nobody was doing anything about it”, he remembers. “I would’ve been honoured to tell this Story on on any medium. The fact that we’re doing it for HBO just compounds the experience.”.
On building a passionate chemistry with Co-Star Mark Ruffalo, he has some high praise for his on-screen Lover. “Mark is just a consummate Professional and an incredible Man. We knew we had an unlimited amount of time to spend together so we kinda tried to just stay in character”, he states. “Thanks to him – I couldn’t have done it without him. He brought so much into it every day that he inspired me to do better.”.
The 24th edition of one of the World’s top LGBT Film Festivals reached a high point this year with much attention shined on the Festival in its securing an exclusive Premiere billing for the Marquee Title, The Normal Heart. On its steady ascension from a grassroots Film Festival to its lucrative partnership with TIFF,Andrew Murphy and Scott Ferguson of Inside Out explain, “It was an evolution. It evolved as Queer Film evolved. We’re lucky to have passionate people involved who are willing to fight for Queer Film.”. Expect the partnership to flourish this Summer as Toronto celebrates World Pride with several Installations, Artist Talks and Screenings planned.
Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer, Author and Philanthropist Mark Tewksbury we learned has actively been involved as the Spokesperson CANFAR, which in its 27 active years has raised more than $15 million for AIDS/HIV research. This of course isn’t the first time the Organization has attached its name to a cinematic partnership. Last fall, they had organized a Charity Screening of Dallas Buyers Club, which would go on to win multiple Academy Awards. CANFAR‘s Chris Bunting stresses the importance of partnering with a high-profile Event such as this. “They think because people are living longer, the issue has gone away. This is an opportunity for a mass audience to see a very important Film and to re-engage in discussions”, states Bunting.
Matt Bomer & Mr. Will:
(Special thanks to Wongster Maria for helping Snap the above Pic!)
See Mr. Will‘s Chat with Bomer & Friends tonight:
The Normal Heart premieres on HBO this Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 9 PM EST.
Inside Out runs at TIFF Bell Lightbox from Thursday, May 22 – Sunday, June 1, 2014.