Stars flock to Toronto film fest

Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 24, 2005 | Publication: Toronto Sun | Author: BRUCE KIRKLAND
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TORONTO - The Toronto International Film Festival will have wall-to-wall star power on its red carpets this year, befitting the event's 30th anniversary.

Co-directors Piers Handling and Noah Cowan read a very, very, very long list of big names yesterday, in turns and with big gulps of breath, at the festival's annual August press conference.

The celebrities, who put the glitz and the glam into what is otherwise a serious celebration of cinema, are part of a 500-strong contingent of guests coming to the world's second-ranked film festival (behind only Cannes in France).

Here is a sampling, with the proviso that, while confirmed now, any one of these names could drop out before the fest launches with the world premiere of Water on Sept. 8:

Classic screen beauties: Charlize Theron, Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Linney, Tilda Swinton, Robin Wright Penn, Juliette Binoche, Charlotte Rampling and Annette Bening.

Young starlets with sugar and spice: Resse Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Claire Danes, Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, Maria Bello, Gretchen Mol and Brittany Murphy.

Unique personalities: Jackie Chan, Richard Gere, Tommy Lee Jones and the post-007 Pierce Brosnan.

TV hotties -- both male and female -- with film ambitions: Eva Longoria, Caroline Dhavernas, Adam Brody, Elisha Cuthbert and Cynthia Nixon.

Oscar winners, with two of them newly minted: Cate Blanchett and Morgan Freeman plus Anthony Hopkins, Frances McDormand and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Stars made famous in The Lord Of The Rings: Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Hugo Weaving and the wizard of wizards, Sir Ian McKellen.

Perennial favourites we love to have around: Jeff Daniels, William H. Macy, Helena Bonham Carter, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William Hurt and Gabriel Byrne.

Celebrity couples: Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake (unless you believe the latest that they're already on the rocks) plus Julianne Moore and her filmmaker husband Bert Freundlich.

Canadian celebs getting their due: Keanu Reeves, Sarah Polley, Barry Pepper, Kiefer Sutherland, Jonas Chernick, Liane Balaban, Daniel MacIvor, Don McKellar, Jackie Burroughs and one-time big-time star Genevieve Bujold.

Stars we just love to have around: Ed Harris, Kurt Russell, Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Toni Collette, Hope Davis, Brenda Blethyn, Jeff Bridges, Joan Chen, Joaquin Phoenix, Ralph Fiennes and David Duchovny.

Bad boys of Hollywood: Party lovin' Nick Nolte, Val Kilmer, Tommy Chong, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr.

Those who need no introduction: Liza Minnelli, Isabella Rossellini and Shirley MacLaine.

Old cowboy actors: Kris Kristofferson and Sam Elliot.

Music folk with a film connection: LL Cool J, Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000), Gerard Butler and Montreal folkie-poet-balladeer Leonard Cohen.

Celebrity directors, some with acting credits, too: Tim Burton, Guy Ritchie (no Madonna announced; presumably she is recovering from her riding accident), Stephen Frears, Ang Lee, Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Steven Soderbergh, John Turturro, Nick Park and, of course, Toronto's Deepa Mehta with the opening night gala.