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Inside TIFF 2014: Team Meetings

Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Andrew Garfield, Miles Teller, Julianne Moore, and Jon Stewart.

The Maison Perrier-Jouët celebration for Foxcatcher was buzzing. Like clockwork, the Cannes darling enthralled Toronto critics and audiences alike last night. Bennett Miller’s harrowing psychological drama tells the story of two brothers, both Olympic Gold wrestling champions (played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo), recruited by eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move to his estate to train for the 1988 Seoul Games. Based on actual events, this Sony Pictures Classics drama is one of the year’s most anticipated films.

Keen to congratulate producer Megan Ellison (American Hustle, Her, Zero Dark Thirty), I barely realized I’d body-checked the Great One in the process. Wayne Gretzky graciously stepped aside as I shared a quick tête-à-tête with the Annapurna Pictures’ chief. Decked out in a dark “Team Foxcatcher” blazer, Ellison was in high spirits. I told her that I had caught up with Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics, and he commented that he’d seen 12 distinct cuts of the film. “Twelve? I’ve seen 40! The first cut was over four hours long,” she laughed.

A prosthetic charade of masculinity, Foxcatcher is a profoundly American cautionary tale of capitalistic entitlement and the fragility of the male ego. Makeup department head Bill Corso managed to make Tatum look like a troll with an under bite. Ruffalo also gets the goon treatment. And the makeup work on Carell is outstanding. It’s like Corso drained the actor of all blood and cartilage, leaving a withered, palliative shell. Carell, Ruffalo, and Tatum are at the top of their game, giving career-crowning performances.

When Vanessa Redgrave arrived, all bets were off. Historically, the Redgraves don’t often attend Hollywood premiere parties. The 77-year-old Oscar winner plays the grand du Pont matriarch in the film. With her ivory hair slicked back in a tight ponytail, she was the star most of the film’s own crew wanted to see. Redgrave stayed for one flute of Perrier-Jouët and spent most of her time catching up with Ruffalo.

Ink Entertainment’s America Restaurant on the 31st floor of the Trump Hotel Toronto was the setting for this morning’s wee-hours premiere after-party for director Ramin Bahrani’s much-touted 99 Homes starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, and Laura Dern. Garfield greeted Eddie Redmayne with a massive rib-crushing bear hug when The Theory of Everything star dropped into the party. A bearded, tousled-haired Shannon caught up with Justin Long. DJ David-Alexandre Fain set a sexy Francophone mood, while rapper Lil Jon held down his corner of the party in a red baseball cap and sunglasses, bemused by the evening’s goings-on. The already buzzy atmosphere was kicked up a notch as Robert Pattinson strolled into the party.

Thompson Toronto hosted the killer Whiplash premiere party, complete with dueling drummers on the rooftop. Fresh from celebrating his Oscar buzz in Vegas and Cabo, man of the moment Miles Teller took the party to the rooftop. Ever the gentleman, he took time to introduce top industry players to his parents and girlfriend Keleigh Sperry. Earlier in the evening, Whiplash director Damien Chazelle presented Teller with IMDb’s second annual STARmeter Award, which recognizes those stars who are perennial favourites on the website, determined by the search behaviour of IMDb’s more than 190 million unique monthly visitors worldwide. Whiplash won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Features at January’s Sundance Film Festival.

At Grey Goose Soho House, Jon Stewart celebrated his directorial debut at a cocktail party for Rosewater. He was joined by lead actor Gael García Bernal and journalist Maziar Bahari. Grey Goose also hosted a glittering private party for Still Alice at Michael’s on Simcoe, honouring the extraordinary performances of Julianne Moore and Kate Bosworth. Moore reigned over one booth with Killer Films’ Christine Vachon. Bosworth anchored the next booth over, giving TIFF one of its most head-turning looks in a flawlessly tailored Hugo Boss crimson dress.

Daytime Highlights:

In the first four days of the festival, Variety set up a portrait studio at Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street location. When it comes to sheer star power cycling through, Holt Renfrew became the defacto TIFF headquarters. This is the fifth annual installment of Variety’s festival-filmmaker video series and portrait studio at TIFF. Downtown at the IT Lounge Portrait Studio, Gemma Arterton, Eddie Redmayne, and Justin Long, among others, stopped by to be photographed by Caitlin Cronenberg. Always game for tea, British Sam Claflin of this year’s The Riot Club sipped on piping hot Davids Tea. Captain AmericaChris Evans picked out a Rudsak jacket to rock at the fest. Best of all, for every celebrity portrait taken, a donation will be made to Artists for Peace and Justice and Best Buddies.