Opening my eyes I could see the rain outside the window. Wouldn’t it be nice to just relax in bed all day, cosy inside while it’s raining outside? I thought to myself, turning to see Nadia still asleep next to me. But no, I have to get up and get to work. Though when your “work” consists of interviewing Matthew McConaughey and seeing films, you can’t really complain too much.
Walking through the rain as fast as I could with an umbrella, I took a moment to consider that my silk floral dress and converse shoes may not have been the best rainy day option. This was further proved when a gust of wind sent the skirt of said dress flying in all directions, and I ended up giving the heavy line of traffic quite the view of one Miss Malone. Sorry, I mouthed as ran past, escaping the honks into the quiet of the Scotiabank cinema center.
Inside the cinemas was a line of people that wrapped around and around, filled with my fellow press. They were waiting for the first press screening at TIFF for ’12 Years A Slave’, a film that got great reaction when it played at Telluride. I’ll be seeing it at the next press screening in a few days, when hopefully it won’t be as hard to get a seat.
My first and only film for the day was ‘Parkland’, a look at the JFK assassination from the point of view of all the regular people who were involved. The cast list is pretty incredible, from Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder, the man who accidentally filmed the whole thing, to Jackie Earle Haley, who has a small role as the Priest who pronounced the President dead inside the hospital. The film shows the kind of chaos that apparently went on afterwards, and that was interesting, but the outpouring of emotion from each character towards Kennedy’s death was verging on melodramatic. Yes, it was a terribly sad event in real life, but in ‘Parkland’ it seemed as if each actor just wanted their crying moment, their yelling moment, and their quiet monologue. As my friend Teresa said, such was the drama that you almost expected them to break out into song at any moment.
I unfortunately didn’t get to see how ‘Parkland’ ended, as it started late and I had to leave to get to my interviews for ‘The Fifth Estate’, the film about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Director Bill Condon told me how hard Benedict Cumberbatch had worked on getting his Australian accent perfect (“His script looked like Latin, he broke down every single word!” he said) so when I told Benedict that, as an Australian, I thought his accent was fantastic, he was genuinely touched. “That means SO much coming from you. Thank you so so much.” He repeated his gratitude while giving me a nice hug at the end of the interview. Afterwards, my tapes were requested to be taken to the Green Room before being delivered to me, I’m not sure exactly what that means but I have a feeling that his team may have watched and or copied them.
From there I jumped into a cab and slowly made my way uptown through heavy rainy traffic for interviews with the cast of ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. One of my friends from school in Canberra works with Jared Leto, (amazing!) and had already worded him up to expect a hug from me. I know he doesn’t really like to shake hands with journalists (understandable when you have 50 or so a day) but I thought I’d chance it and ask for a hug at the end. “Is that your thing?” he asked, “The hugs? Why?”
I explained how it started as a cheeky way to get close to hot male celebs, then had evolved into being my thing, something I use a way of either breaking the ice or making an already awkward situation (press junkets are like speed dating with no payoff) even more awkward for my own personal amusement.
“Well then surely the more awkward thing to do would be to not hug. To just sit and not say anything?” he offered.
“Oh I would love that!” I replied, “Can we do that?”
He obliged and I sat staring into his intense eyes for a good 15 seconds, before he broke the stare with a smile and a “Congratulations! You are awkward!” Once the cameras stopped rolling he was continued to ask about my hugs, then suddenly got out of his chair to give me probably the longest hug I have received from a celebrity, and explained that he prefers off-camera hugs. Fair enough. When I saw him in the hallway later, he smiled and I greeted him with a “Hi hug buddy!!” just to, you know, really cement the awkwardness. It seemed to work.
With Matthew McConaughey I asked if I could adopt him to Australia, because he spent a few years living there when he was younger, and he really is incredible in the movie so I want to claim him. Now the embargo has lifted on ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ reviews I can say that both Matthew and Jared, in my opinion, deserve Oscar nominations for their performances. They really throw everything they have into their roles, including their bodies, and their dedication means that ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ stays with you afterwards, while somehow not being overly sentimental or emotionally manipulative. My time with Matthew was brief (supposed to be 4 minutes, was actually 3) but sweet, and yep, I got a McConaughey hug!
Lastly for my day were interviews for ‘Parkland’ with Paul Giamatti and director Peter Landesman. I always thought Paul would be a super serious guy to interview because he’s such an incredible actor, but he is actually REALLY fun. When I walked in I gave him the excellent news that I was his last interview for the day, and then said how sometimes if I’m 3rd or 4th last, I’ll tell the actor I’m the last, then just before I leave I’ll say ‘Oh sorry, you have more!’ It’s an evil ploy to make sure I get a great interview, but the person after me is hated. Mwah hahahaaaaa. During the interview I spoke to Paul about playing Rhino in ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’, and those incredible faces he pulls in the photos we’ve seen from the set. “I know, I went way over the top!” he laughed. I decided not to go for the hug at the end, asking instead for a high five, which became delightfully awkward when his hand missed mine. As I left he asked if I was actually the last or if I was tricking him, to which I replied, “Nope sorry, you have five left and they’re all doubles, so have fun with that!”
“Cheeky!” he yelled after me.
I was really his last, so it was OK.
Oh, and just before I go, here’s a quick update on the Jake Gyllenhaal and me talking about my pee situation, because I know you are just dying to hear… it seems Jake took my pee plight to heart. On Twitter I saw a Variety reporter say: Gyllenhaal's advice on seeing the 2.5 hr Prisoners: "Go pee beforehand!"
This is my legacy. You are welcome, world.