2016 certainly was one for the books. I admit feeling terribly guilty every time someone claimed how horrible the year was when I secretly felt otherwise! Whether it be the amazing Films I saw, singling-out LA LA LAND, which I will say is the one of the finest to be released in the past decade, or songs on the radio – we love a return to strong melancholy melodies – the year gave us many memories to hold on to. And to think we used to scoff at Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd … now they’re on repeat on our Spotify account.
If there was a big name in town, we were there and this will be defined as the year we met our faves Gwyneth Paltrow, James Corden, Anne Hathaway, Taraji P. Henson, Rooney Mara and Emma Stone. We admit, we’re a bit mortified we’ll run out of heroes to meet!
And let’s not forget my love of horses. My travels to New York and California brought me together with icons like California Chrome, Beholder, Lady Eli and star of tomorrow, Classic Empire – the early favourite for May’s Kentucky Derby. My favourite horsey moment though? Meeting “Princess” aka A Pic by MrWill, my own namesake, for the first time back in February! I will miss her as she enjoys the sun and sand in Florida this winter, but look forward to her being a tough machine in the spring after her winter training.
Join me on a walk down memory lane one more time! And check back this weekend as we check-in with Team Mr. Will including Justin Waldman, Jon Godfrey, Dave Baldwin, Siobhán Rich, Amanda Gilmore + George Kozera as they give us their Best-Ofs!
TOP TEN FILMS
1. La La Land
3. Bridget Jones’s Baby
4. Nocturnal Animals
7. A Bigger Splash
9. Florence Foster Jenkins
Into You – Ariana Grande
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers ft. Daya
Let Me Love You – DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber
Starboy – The Weeknd
24k Magic – Bruno Mars
Cheap Thrills – Sia ft. Sean Paul
Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande
No – Meghan Trainor
7 Years – Lukas Graham
Lifted – CL
All About Us – Jordan Fisher
Love Like That – Mayor Hawthorne
Just Like Fire – P!nk
This is What You Came For – Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna
Lost Boy – Ruth B
Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes
Spirits – The Strumbellas
Let it Go – James Bay
Work from Home – Fifth Harmony
City of Stars – Ryan Gosling
Audition – Emma Stone
We were in L.A. this past weekend and although our reason to visit was the 2016 BREEDERS’ CUP at Santa Anita Park, we always make time for the stars. We even met culinary master Bobby Flay at the championship races and saw one of our faves Elizabeth Banks, both Ambassadors for the event.
We’re completely exhausted from the trip but finally had a quick minute to share some of our Selfies. Two events were going on around town that night, the GO FOUNDATION GALA in Downtown L.A. benefiting under-privileged children. While Katy Perry and Kate Hudson attended last year, this year we had chair Robert Pattinson attend and he was a great sport, staying right to the end! We’ve met him a few times and he is gracious when time and security permits and fortunately it was a low-key situation. At the Fox Theatre the same night was the Premiere for Oscar Contender, FENCES, directed by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. He stars in the Drama alongside Viola Davis, based on the Broadway play which saw him win a Tony!
We also saw Mel Gibson, Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn at a screening for HACKSAW RIDGE, but the photos were a no-go. Sad, but fine.
It was a great TIFF ’14. I admit things were looking a bit scary with a smaller-than-expected Celebrity Guest List initially and lack of confirmations, but the Festival truly brought its A-Game and this indeed was one for the books! I distinctly remember feeling a bit of panic on the first Friday of the Festival trailing far off the pace I’m normally at, nabbing only a handful of Celeb Snaps. Once the Festival picked-up by the weekend, I found myself barely able to hang-on! What a wild ride!
Many will attribute the shift in pace of the Festival due to the well-publicized guideline changes set this year, making it impossible for any Studios/Filmmakers to premiere at TIFF within its first four days had it premiered elsewhere on the North American Festival Circuit. This in turn created room for several star-studded In-Conversation-Withs as part of the Festival’s Mavericks Programme with the likes of Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua, Richard Gere, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Juliette Binoche. We felt the pinch, believe me. This however is a Statement the Festival must make to secure its exclusivity and maintain its place as an important Fixture for Films on the Award Trail.
We loved seeing the Publicity Machine at work before our eyes. Stars in previous years who were on the inaccessible side, suddenly became warm to Fans. On the contrary though, we noticed a few Stars who normally are friendly and accessible become tough to access this TIFF. We’re looking at you, Channing. It always is a true testament to how much the Stars believe in their product when they are willing to bring it!
We also are not surprised that THE IMITATION GAME (review here) was awared the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. Upon seeing it in advance of the Festival, we knew the Film had that something special and this will be the Film that makes Benedict Cumberbatch a household name in North America. How it shall fare this Awards Season remains to be seen, but given its Oscar-bagging connections – The Weinstein Co. – it should do just fine!
Our Contributors Jonathan Godfrey, David Baldwin, Justin Waldman and myself also might also have a thing or two to say about other deserving Contenders which premiered here at TIFF, which might not have gotten recognition. Baldwin has the highest praise for Eddie Redmayne‘s performance in The Theory of Everything (review here), while Godfrey still is singing the patriotic praises of the “cosmic” Maps to the Stars (review here). Waldman has a place in his heart for the overlooked Mommy (review here) and Pride (review here) – both which he feels will be Awards Season Candidates. I myself was spellbound by the meditative slow-burn of Foxcatcher (review here) and the devastatingly-good Whiplash (review here). Never discount Jake Gyllenhaal too as his self-starring and produced Nightcrawler was a bit of a Hit among Fans (review here)! And although we didn’t see it, Chris Rock‘s triumphant return Top Five had multiple Studios in a bidding war for distribution rights.
… and now for some Lists!
MR. WILL‘S TOP TIFF ’14 MOMENTS
1. Meeting Tom Hardy
2. Meeting Bill Murray
3. Meeting Benedict Cumberbatch x 2
4. Epic Reese Witherspoon Photo Op (after six tries prior)
5. Meeting Steve Carell
6. Meeting Melissa McCarthy
7. Ansel Elgort saying he had to get a Selfie with Mr. Will, followed by comment from him on Instagram.
8. Mr. Will‘s Epic Hat Fail, blocking Jennifer Garner‘s beautiful face
9. Meeting Miles Teller/J.K, Simmons WHIPLASH Combo
10. John Travolta‘s Fan Buffet outside The Forger Press Junket
MOST FAN-FRIENDLY CELEBS AT TIFF ’14
1. John Travolta
2. Tom Hardy
3. Reese Witherspoon (we are shocked!)
4. Benedict Cumberbatch
5. Chris Evans
CELEBS WHO OWNED TIFF ’14
1. Bill Murray
2. Al Pacino
3. Benedict Cumberbatch
4. Anna Kendrick
5. Steve Carell
1. Melissa McCarthy
2. Kristen Bell
3. Chris Pine
4. Elizabeth Banks
5. Cara Delevingne
1. Robert Downey Jr.
2. Tina Fey
3. Keira Knightley
4. Denzel Washington
5. Kate Winslet
CELEBS WHO MADE THE MOST OF TIFF ’14
1. Chris Evans
2. Steve Carell
3. Benedict Cumberbatch
4. Jon Stewart
5. Bill Murray
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
2. Eddie Redmayne
3. Miles Teller
4. Felicity Jones
5. Ansel Elgort
FILMS TO LOOK-OUT FOR AWARDS SEASON FROM TIFF ’14
1, The Imitation Game
2. St. Vincent
3. The Theory of Everything
And last but not least, we must thank our wonderful Supporters throughout TIFF who make it all possible.
CP24 & Bell Media: Thank you for continuing to provide and support me with an Outlet to share my greatest passion with Ontarians at my favourite time of year. I look forward to working together again TIFF ’15!
H&M Canada: Everything I wear is H&M. Your Cardigans and Jackets were perfect for the indecisive hot-cold of TIFF ’14. Your clothing gives me confidence and comfort. Thank you.
Nikon Canada: Although I am still mastering my Nikon D3300 admittedly, many of my Photos were another level of fantastic. Capturing Photos in 24MP has given my Pictures a depth, clarity and level of detail which I’ve never before achieved. In the words of Joel McHale (at the Festival with Adult Beginners), “Are you sure this is the best Camera to take a Selfie with?” *SNAP* “I guess it is!”.
Novotel Centre Toronto: I am happy to have called you my home once again TIFF ’14. Billy and I miss our amazingly cozy bed and we appreciate the Puppy Welcome Package. This shows the level of attentiveness you have for your Clients. To be only minutes away from the thick of it all: the Movies, Parties and Celebrities and be able to crash in my Hotel Room for a quick recharge when I was in dire need of it was an absolute luxury I will not take for granted. The in-and-our privileges of your Parking Lot were a blessing as was the reliable Wi-Fi. The Staff always are accommodating, understanding and friendly. Without a doubt, I can recommend Novotel Centre Toronto as the place to stay during TIFF.
Samsung Canada: Communication is key to my Brand during TIFF and having access to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Tab S this year ensured I always was able to stay in touch and charged. When there was the ever rare lull in my day, I could whip-out my Devices and prep my Photos and Blog Posts, ensuring that I could actually spend precious time in my Hotel Room sleeping versus working. This meant so much to me and I basically cannot imagine my life without a Galaxy Tab S. Really!
Ford Canada: I have never experienced luxury like a LINCOLN MKZ. The Panoramic Roof was a dream. The 6-Speed SelectShift® was absolute state-of-the-art. The massaging chairs were decadent. The THX® II Certified Audio System was symphonic. The customizable interior lighting let me changing colours according to my mood. The Lincoln MKZ‘s concern for my safety with frequent alerts kept me focused on the road. Did I mention it’s awful easy on the eyes? I will never forget the TIFF in which Billy and I rolled in that silky, smooth Lincoln!
Out There with Melissa DiMarco: We always have a blast at Melissa’s Out There VIP Interview Studio and Hospitality Suite! Thank you for keeping Team Mr. Will fed and hydrated with your delectable goodies and thank you for embracing my Willionaire$!
NKPR IT LOUNGE: We are thrilled to have experienced the goodness enjoyed by the likes of Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cuasack, Justin Long, Jena Malone, Felicity Jones and several more! Thank you also for giving my Willionaire$ a taste of that Celeb Life with your generosity!
Touchwood PR: We love you and appreciate the Golden Tickets my Readers and I have been given thanks to your kindness. We value your friendship and are excited about what’s next to come!
Rock-It Promotions: We are honoured by some of the plum opportunities we were given this TIFF and we look forward to building our relationship with you in the future!
Shinan Govani: We are so proud to call you a Friend. You are one of TIFF‘s most omnipresent Stars. We continue to look-up to you and your profound influence on our thriving Celebrity Culture.
We hope you had a blast on our Digital Journey this TIFF ’14 and we can’t wait to do it all over.
We’re officially at the halfway point of TIFF ’14 and we’re still kickin’ it with tons of Stars to snap around the City!
Our day began bright and early with an appearance on 99.9 VIRGIN RADIO where we chat about Channing Tatum and spotting Stars at TIFF!
Full Audio below:
Tonight’s marquee Gala was David Cronenberg‘s Cannes-acclaimed Film, MAPS TO THE STARS. Fans queued bright and early outside TIFF Bell Lightbox for a chance to see one of the Film’s Stars, Robert Pattinson of The Twilight Saga. Filmed in Toronto last Summer, the odd Story centers on a washed-up Actress (Julianne Moore) looking for a Career resurgence. See the Stars below, some of which headed over to the NKPR IT Lounge (enter to win a Prize Pack here!) afterward for some Photos with Caitlin Cronenberg‘s – Daughter of David – in her W Magazine Portrait Lounge.
Newcomer Evan Bird
THE IMITATION GAME While walking on-foot, I also stumbled upon the Cast of The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley. The Film, getting tons of Oscar buzz, re-tells Mathematician Alan Turing‘s struggles in the WWII Era.
LEARNING TO DRIVE Sir Ben Kingsley who was just in Toronto earlier this year filming LIFE, was spotted downtown today doing Press for his latest effort, Learning to Drive.
ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST Academy Award Winner Benicio Del Toro may be a genius Actor but had a bit of struggle understanding the concept of a Selfie! We spotted him arriving tonight, as he gets ready to premiere his latest Film, Escobar: Paradise Lost.
If anyone’s show longevity in Hollywood, it’s Academy Award Winner Ethan Hawke. Work has brought the Star to Toronto on multiple occasions in recent years and his latest, Good Kill premiered tonight at Ryerson Theatre. The Actor was partying at the Storys Building afterward.
All Photographs taken on the NIKON D3300 and communicated via the Samsung Galaxy S5.
It absolutely is our favourite time of the year again and announced this morning is the official list of Talent coming to Toronto for TIFF ’14! We look forward to seeing plenty of returning names – some just here last year like the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Kate Winslet – and also plenty of Stars from years past making their way back here once more!
Among the names attending TIFF ’14 this year include:
Jon Stewart, Martin Scorcese, Richard Gere, Andrew Garfield, Viggo Mortensen, Gael Garcia Bernal, James Franco, Jane Fonda, Chloë Moretz, Brit Marling, Laura Dern, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Redgrave, Vera Farmiga, Al Pacino, Tina Fey, Haley Joel Osment, Robert Pattinson, Ansel Elgort, Alice Eve, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Seyfried, Michael Shannon, Dax Sheppard, Robert Duvall, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Hailee Steinfield, Justin Chatwin, Method Man, Jennifer Connelly, Bobby Cannavale, Kuoth Wiel, Cassie Williams, Danny Webb, Dominic West, Jung Woo-Sung, John Boylan, Sam Worthington, Tye Sheridan, Andrew Scott, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, Connie Britton, Reese Witherspoon, Evan Bird, Zhao Wei, Han Ye-Ri, Melissa Benoist, Haley Bennett, Sonja Bennett, John Travolta, Julianne Moore, Isaach De Bankolé, Dan Stevens, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll, Xavier Dolan, Peter Stormare, Ben Schnetzer, Abigail Spencer, Ellen Barkin, Bill Pullman, Charlotte Aubin, Kate Winslet, Ryan Reynolds, Rene Russo, Roger Waters, Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Loreto Aravena, Tobey Maguire, Aubrey Plaza, Tobey Maguire, Gemma Arterton, Juliette Binoche, Zhang Yimou, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kristen Wiig, Adam Sandler, Rose Byrne, Channing Tatum, Chris Evans, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Mark Ruffalo, Bill Murray, Daniel Barber, Liam Aiken, Mike Leigh, Olivier Assayas, Richard LaGravenese, Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Anna Kendrick, Morgan Freeman, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Rosario Dawson, Chris Rock, John Cusack, Benedict Cumberbatch, Octavia Spencer, Keira Knightley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kevin Costner, Anthony Mackie, Patricia Clarkson, J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, Priyanka Chopra, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Winterbottom, Justin Chon, Steve Carell, Gong Li, Hayden Christensen, Tory Kittles, Jordana Brewster, Holliday Grainger, Max Irons, Lone Scherfig, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Paul Bettany, Daniel Barnz, Noah Baumbach, Barry Avrich, Jennifer Aniston, Akon, Nick Kroll, Holly Hunter, Catherine Keener, Greta Gerwig, Omar Sy Jennifer Garner, Salma Hayek, Kevin Smith, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Faye Marsay, Bill Nighy, Justin Long, Christopher Plummer, Marton Csokas, David Cronenberg, Sarah Gadon, Tom Schilling, Tom Hardy and more!
TIFF also will be hosting a series of In-Conversations-With as part of their Mavericks Programme. Joining-in are the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Denzel Washington, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Jon Stewart, Dan Savage, Julie Taymor and several more!
As is the case always, it’s sometimes not just who’s coming – it’s who they’re bringing. Don’t be surprised if Jennifer Garner brings Husband Ben Affleck along and be warned if Andrew Garfield brings Emma Stone along!
Who’s on our list of Must-Meets? Plenty! We hope finally to get a positive moment with Reese Witherspoon and Kate Winslet! Excited about Martin Scorcese, J.K. Simmons, Bobby Cannavale, Miles Teller, Corey Stoll, Tobey Maguire, Rose Byrne, Michael Douglas and newer names like Max Irons and Douglas Booth, that’s for sure. And did we read TINA FEY!?!? Finally! AND WHERE IS TOM HARDY?!?!
The list is always subject to surprise and no-shows as we know all too well!
In celebration of her glorious Best Actress win in Cannes yesterday, here is the Trailer for David Cronenberg‘s gripping MAPS TO THE STARS, starring Julianne Moore. Filmed between Toronto and Los Angeles, this Thriller follows a Hollywood Family chasing fame and Celebrity. Moore‘s performance as a desperate, aging Actress has has singled-out early as the performance to look-out for this forthcoming Awards Season. Expect this to debut in a grand way this September at TIFF ’14!
Production fully is now under-way for Anton Corbijn‘s LIFE, which we reported previously would be filming in Toronto. The Drama, based on True Events and the friendship between LIFE Magazine Photographer Dennis Stock and Pop Culture Icon James Dean, stars The Twilight Saga Megastar Robert Pattinson, his third Movie to film in the City over the past three years, and up-and-coming Talent Dane DeHaan.
Filming took place today in the Downtown Core at a Building ridden with Bedbug problems in the past, with both external and internal shoots taking place for much of the afternoon. As a torrential downpour of sloshy wet snow handicapped the City midday, the Shoot moved indoors where a Movie Premiere scene within the Film had commenced.
Appearing in the Scene is Academy Award Winner Sir Ben Kingsley, who was reported as having flown into the City for the Film earlier this week, cast as Canadian-born Studio Executive Jack Warner. Spending much of his day in his Trailer, the mustached Thespian was guided along with a Handler under an umbrella, dressed warmly in a green Canada Goose Parka. “I’m afraid you will take my Photo and show it to your Friends on the Internet!”, said Kingsley when asked by Fans to pose for a Group Photo. Despite declining to pose for a Photo, upon returning for a Touch-Up later in the day, he threw a quick wave to Fans.
Meanwhile DeHaan, who plays Dean inthe ’50s-set LIFE, was enjoying the Olympics in his Trailer. He had an earlier wrap, seen heading home in a Plaid Jacket, Toque and Glasses.
The Film’s Star, Pattinson, was spotted smoking a cigarette in a hidden area of the Building he was filming at in the afternoon, later retiring to his Trailer for a six-hour-long break which saw him lunching on a Subway Sandwich, craving a large bag of Potato Chips in the evening brought to him by his Assistant. The handsome 27-year-old British Actor who plays the Lead Role of Stock, donned a Canada Goose Parka and was seen exiting quietly, his hood concealing his face. His Private Bodyguard Dean aided him along to his vehicle, narrowly avoiding a serious fall on the extremely slippery footing. Fortunately he made it unscathed and fall-free to a late night of filming!
LIFE continues filming west of Toronto tomorrow and is slated to wrap Production late March.
We’ve had a wonderful history with Pattinson over the past few years. Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane, shall we?
He’s back! Is it safe to say that Robert Pattinson by now call Toronto a second home, filming his third Movie here in just three years? I mean, he’s practically Canadian now!
LIFE is set to begin production in Toronto on February 18, 2014, wrapping about one month later. The Film from Control Director Anton Corbijn centers on a Photograph for LIFE Magazine, Dennis Stock, assigned to shoot James Dean. The two went-on to become great Friends.
Starring in the role of Stock will be Pattinson, while Up-and-Comer Dane DeHaan – just in Toronto at TIFF ’13 for Kill Your Darlings – has been cast as Dean. Stock shot the iconic Photos of Dean which went on to become synonymous with the Star’s iconic brand of coolness.
News of the $15-million Production broke last September via The Hollywood Reporter, but within the blink of an eye, the time soon is before us. Also beginning production simultaneously next month is Guillermo del Toro‘s Crimson Peak, as announced previously. More details here.
Give yourself a Patt on the back, Toronto! We’ve waited long for some real Starpower in this City!
I’ll be the first to admit that 2013 has been a lackluster year for Productions in Toronto and it pains me to see the Films which our Friends in Vancouver and Montreal have been seeing, with an explosive amount of Star Power. That being said, I was thrilled to hear that the brilliant Mia Wasikowska would be among the Talent in the City filming this Summer. After seeing her at TIFF 2011, I was disappointed I never got my moment to meet her and the scheduling just didn’t align.
I will be the first to say I legitimately am an ardent Fan of the Australian-born Actress, whom we’ve come to know from her work in critical successes like Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland, The Kids are All Right, Lawless, Jane Eyre, Albert Nobbs and more recently Park Chan- Wook‘s amazing Stoker. Wasikowska firmly has stamped her place among Hollywood’s next batch of A-Listers and she easily is one of my favourite young Actresses.
I spotted the Actress out and about tonight getting Take-out Italian after a long day on-set and she was absolutely gracious and lovely, despite surely wanting to head home in this ridiculous heat and humidity we’ve been facing. The Actress was spotted last week by Paparazzi with her Boyfriend Jesse Eisenberg in town and it melts my heart knowing how happy she is right now in love! We chatted with Eisenberg recently on a Press Day in Toronto and he was just awesome!
Wasikowska currently is filming David Cronenberg‘s Drama, Maps to the Stars in the City up till mid-August. It is said that she has a fair amount of scenes with Co-Star Robert Pattinson who is believed already to be in Toronto.
Acclaimed British Actress Olivia Williams is among the Talent currently in Toronto filming David Cronenberg‘s latest Drama, Maps to the Stars. Tonight we spotted her returning back from a weekend Getaway at Lake Muskoka, impressively driving herself in her rented car, two hours outside the City. She was extremely lovely and humble, excusing her appearance not having any make-up on, before snapping a Photo graciously. Surely you will agree the Star of Films like Hanna, An Education, The Sixth Sense and upcoming Seventh Son, is absolutely stunning even without being made-up?
The Film, which just began production recently, already has seen several Members of its Principal Cast in town including John Cusack, Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska, who had the Tabloids and Entertainment Shows busy after she was spotted kissing Boyfriend Jesse Eisenberg last week here in the City. Robert Pattinson Fans have been awaiting updates anxiously about his arrival and the Twilight Star still has yet to be seen in Toronto.
Maps to the Stars, is said to be a scathing look at Hollywood’s relationship with Western Culture, filming in Toronto till mid-August.