TIFF 2016: When the stars get star-struck

Posted by admin|November 18, 2016


TORONTO – The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off Thursday and will no doubt see thousands of screaming star-watchers getting worked up into a frenzy on the red carpet-lined streets.

But did you know celebrities get star-struck too?

The Canadian Press spoke with industry movers and shakers, including two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis, about their memorable star encounters.

“The first time I met Dustin Hoffman I was stumbling,” says Haggis, a native of London, Ont., who will hold his annual Haiti benefit — the Bovet 1822 Artists for Peace and Justice 2016 Festival Fair — on Sept. 11, during TIFF.

“And the first time I met Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg, I was calling them ‘Mr. Eastwood’ and ‘Mr. Spielberg’ and really annoying them.

“I’m often star-struck, still,” he adds. “Helen Mirren, I introduced myself to her in Santa Monica in the line of a coffee shop. She was standing in front of me to get coffee and I couldn’t stop myself, I admired her so much, and she was so kind. Now she’s a personal friend … but at the time the urge was like: ‘Uh, excuse me, you’re brilliant.’

“Anthony Hopkins, I did it exactly the same way. He was in Santa Monica, minding his own business, having his breakfast, and I had to go over and tell him what a genius he was and then felt like a fool, of course.”

Oscar winner Brigitte Berman — who’s at TIFF this year with the doc “The River of My Dreams: A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent” — recalls seeing her hero, Federico Fellini, walk past her after the Academy Awards.

“The person who inspired me with all his films, there he was right in front of me and I thought, ‘Am I going to go up to him and tell him?’ and then I thought, ‘No, I’m not. I am just going to treasure this moment that I am very close to somebody who was part of my growing up, part of my learning about filmmaking, and I’m going to respect it.’”