Having starred in classics like Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda, former Child Actor Mara Wilson‘s effervescent smile defined the youth of several Millennials. While having “broken-up” with Hollywood living a low-key existence, the Actress-turned-Writer has gone on to do several great things including graduating from New York’s Tisch School of the Arts, her advocacy of mental health, being an accomplished Playwright, a few turns on Series like BoJack Horseman and Broad City and now her latest a Memoir told through short stories and essays, Where Am I Now?.
Wilson, now 29, returned today to Toronto – a city she spent much of her childhood filming – to promote her new literary endeavour supported by a day of Press, which included Television stops like Breakfast Television and The Social. She met Fans at Indigo Yonge & Eglinton, where she did an in-conversation with Duana Taha but not without a simplistic rider which included Saltines and Perrier for her nausea. Well over 200 fans queued for a rare chance to meet Wilson, who was gracious and personable with every single one of them.
The Fan of Harry Potter, Stevie Diamond and Judy Blume, told the audience about her early days of writing, mostly while waiting in Trailers during filming, crafting stories and screenplays. Recalling her experience with Robin Williams on the set of Mrs. Doubtfire, he broke the ice with her by asking her to tell him a story which she relished, giving him perhaps a bit more than he had hoped for!
On Where Am I Now?, she sometimes is told by others that they wish the book had “juicier” stories about her Hollywood upbringing. She explains much to their disappointment, “Most of the scandalous things happened outside the set. I’m not good at being a celebrity. I don’t like to party. I like sitting at home having tea with my cats”.
Wilson recalls an incident as a seven-year-old where she walked the Red Carpet for Hugh Grant‘s Film, Nine Months and was asked by a reporter what she thought about his prostitution-related arrest. In a state of confusion, she searched for her then late Mother who intervened angrily. Her father would call the station the next day to complain, only for it to be dismissed completely.
She comments about the unique dynamic of working with adults as a Child Actor. “I thought I was one of the adults. I was put to the side but felt I was kinda on the same level as adults”, she says. “I felt like I had power and I feel that’s the problem of Child Actors. They have the power but not the responsibilities and those little things that you learn like practical skills.”. “They have everyone doing things for them and that’s essential to becoming an adult.”.
Wilson exudes now the contentment in life that she so much longed for after having dealt arduously with Anxiety, OCD and Depression for many years and the stigma attached to getting help.
It was a great pleasure seeing the smile a young Matilda Fan brought to her face as she presented her a drawing on-stage during tonight’s Q&A. Although her Hollywood past may be something she feels was in another life, that other life carries with it a timeless legacy that will speak to generations to come.
The 2015 TriBeCa Film Festival ran from April 15-26, 2015 in beautiful Tribeca, New York and I attended for the first time ever! What originally drew me into travelling for 10 days to New York City for this incredible Film Festival co-founded by Robert DeNiro to bring people back downtown New York after the tragedies of 9/11, were the conversations, or Tribeca Talks: Director Series that was announced in the middle of March, just a mere month before the Festival. The booking and scouring to look-up Films, allow time to line up and travel, and build a schedule with no backups had begun.
The Tribeca Talks: Director Series that was just aforementioned including one hour Conversations with George Lucas moderated by Stephen Colbert, Christopher Nolan moderated by Bennett Miller, Cary Fukunaga moderated by James Schumer, and last not certainly not least, Brad Bird moderated by Janeane Garofalo. These Talks were not only incredible for their insight, but they were beyond entertaining and masterful. The 60 minutes flew-by in what felt like seconds, but the entire time was surreal, something that words cannot merely describe.
As well, the selection of seemingly endless Movies was unfathomable. There were so many great choices, and promising options, most of which turned out to be extremely fun and enjoyable while others fell short of that standard. Some of the highlights were: Leslye Headland’s Sleeping with Other People starring Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis. This Movie was absolutely hysterical as it steered from the typical Romantic Comedy norms and clichés, and provided new laughs and nuances that truly made this RomCom stand-out from the crowd. Hopefully it gets a Canadian release, and if it unfortunately does not it will be released on VOD 90 days after its opening in Cinemas. Other standouts included Man Up from Director Ben Palmer which paired Simon Pegg and Lake Bell together in an unseeingly-perfect Romantic Comedy as well. I swear I did not just see Romcoms at TriBeCa. Ashby from Director Tony McNamara is another extremely funny, brilliant, Dark Comedy featuring Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff and Emma Roberts. The Film focuses on Wolff and Rourke who is a former Assassin and how the manage to enrich one another’s life.
The TriBeCa Film Festival also features an after the Movie discussion for certain Titles, not that the new Movies don’t have Q&As but rather they take older Movies and bring back Cast and Crew for a 45 minute discussion about the Movie and some insider information regarding the Project. The one that I was lucky enough to attend was Gus Van Sant’s brilliant Good Will Hunting. Minnie Driver, Gus Van Sant and Stellan Skarsgård were in attendance for this post movie talk and included a lot of information about Robin Williams on the set. This moved most of the Audience to laughter and tears. Some of the most memorable moments were when Skarsgårdrevealed that the first take of the scene between Williams and Skarsgårdin the bar, Robin did the entire Role in his Nicholson impersonation. Another memorable tidbit was from Driver who reveled that the focus puller was terrible and could not be fired because he was related to someone high up so he referred to him as Helen…Keller. Moments like these unknown facts are what make for great memories.
TriBeCa was an incredible experience, which offered a ton of excitement in an array of events geared to true Film Lovers. These separate ticketed events are something that would be classified as once in a lifetime. Events such as Mary J. Blige’s Documentary The London Sessions, followed by her performing a live Concert, or a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail followed by a Talk with Monty Python. However, the Closing Night Film was the piece DE résistance. Goodfellas’ 25th Anniversary Screening in the new 4K restoration with a post-Screening Discussion with Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino, moderated by Jon Stewart. That was a memory never to be duplicated.
TriBeCa was a delight to attend, and a Festival I cannot wait to experience again next year!
I’ll never forget that cold night in November 2012. I happened to have a day off and remember stressing the month prior whether or not I’d miss my chance to see Robin Williams live. The stars aligned fortunately and I would do everything in my power to make this meeting happen. I knew I couldn’t afford tickets to his Sony Centre for the Performing Arts Show, so my only shot was getting a glimpse of him arriving. And what a wait that was, as I arrived midday at the venue – early, yes, but necessary.
As time passed and it got closer to Showtime, the crowd outside the Stage Door grew and all of us – including some Fans who drove from the U.S. to see him – I became less and less hopeful I’d get my Robin Williams Moment. I mean, adored the Man. Mrs. Doubtfire, Mork & Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Aladdin. These are only a handful of the Movies and Television Shows which would forever leave an imprint on a Generation – my Generation – thanks to Williams.
Finally with only a little bit of time till the Show started, Williams arrived and let me tell you, he did not disappoint. In what had to be a crowd of 100+ Fans, he stopped and posed for Photos with practically everyone and he was a Champ about it. You can see his cheeks turn rosey and his eyes watery from the cold in our Photo below:
See a Video I took of Williams in the moment:
I won’t forget Williams‘ great generosity that night. Although the moment was brief, it left me with a great sense of happiness and happiness is what he brought to the World with his wit, energy, charm and smile. We’ll never fully understand what he was going through leading to his passing (more here), but let it be known he too never will fully understand the difference he made in our lives and how much love and adoration he has from his Fans.
One Man, eight Presidents. The Butler tells the True Story of Cecil Gains (played by both Aml Ameen, Forest Whitaker), who served eight Presidents between 1952 and 1986, having a front-row seat as political and racial History was made in the United States. The Film marks Oprah Winfrey‘s big return to the Big Screen, playing the pivotal role of Gloria Gaines, his Wife.
Lee Daniels (Precious, The Paperboy) features an All-Star Cast including Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, Mariah Carey, David Oyelowo, Alex Pettyfer, Alan Rickman, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Cusack, Melissa Leo, Lenny Kravitz, Minka Kelly, James Marsden and several more.
Seen widely as a Contender at the Oscars, the The Weinstein Co. Film originally was to get an October release, but gets pushed-back to August 16, 2013, meaning no TIFF Premiere unfortunately!
Legendary. Robin Williams made several chilly Fans happy tonight arriving outside the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, stopping generously to take Photos and sign Autographs for Fans upon arrival less than an hour before Showtime. Keeping the situation completely under control with his Handlers, the youthful-looking 61-year-old Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and GRAMMY Winner took his time showing his gratitude to Fans – a true Class Act.
Williams appeared tonight at An Evening of Sit Down with Robin Williams hosted by his Pal, Canadian Actor/Author/Director David Steinberg, entertaining a Crowd of devout Fans to raves on Twitter.
2013 looks to be a big year for the Veteran Entertainer, whom I’ve long adored since his Mork & Mindy Days, with four Films on-the-way including eagerly-awaited The Big Wedding in which he stars alongside Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes, Susan Sarandon, Robert DeNiro and Topher Grace. Williams also stars in The Angriest Man in Brooklyn opposite Mila Kunis, plus The Butler with a super All-Star Cast including Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Mariah Carey, Alex Pettyfer, James Marsden, Alan Rickman, Forest Whitaker and many more.
Watch a quick Clip I captured of Williams and his Toronto Fans: