|The view of the red carpet from back in the line. That's Yonge|
Street for the non-Torontonians, and it crosses Queen just south there.
SUVs came from the south and up the part-block and dropped them
off under the lit-up marquee.
There was a kerfuffle about 20 minutes before the movie started, and we couldn't see from way back in the line (here's a gripe for TIFF: You put the moviegoers standing in line WAY back so they can't actually see the stars of the movie they paid to see, but the fans who didn't get tickets are standing way up next to the red carpet getting photos and autographs). Luckily, we were in a group so we could send people up a few at a time. The first person came back and didn't know who it was, and showed the rest of us the pic on her camera and it was Tom Lenk and Reed Diamond. When the next kerfuffle happened, I went up, and saw the wonderful and amazing Alexis Denisof (in the Whedonverse, he's Wesley Wyndham-Pryce and the Senaterrrrrr) and Sean Maher (Simon Tam).
|Sean Maher signing autographs.|
|Alexis signing. He did almost the entire round.|
As everyone was mooning and screaming over these two, there was suddenly screaming from behind me. And I realized that if I'd stayed in the line, I would have seen Joss Whedon nonchalantly wandering down Yonge Street, not arriving in an SUV like everyone else. Right behind him was Nathan Fillion, with Clark Gregg.
|Joss as I first saw him, turning and acknowledging a fan|
who recognized him right away, while everyone else wondered
who the guy in the suit and sneakers was.
|Joss as he walked by me. He actually looked right at me|
and waved, but my stupid camera delayed and I didn't get
|And here's Nathan. I apologize for the extreme fuzziness, but|
aside from the delay, my camera can't change the zoom from one
photo to the next apparently. (Note to self: NEW CAMERA.)
|Nathan leaving the crowds after being told he needed|
to get into the theatre.
And then the line was ushered in quickly, so we didn't get to see the rest of the arrivals. But imagine my delight when we walked in and saw this:
|The media line inside the theatre. That's Alexis in the foreground,|
obviously, and in the back is Nathan, and Joss is against the
doors (and that appears to be Cynthia Loyst from Space
Once inside, we grabbed our seats in front of the reserved section and waited a while for everyone to come in. Eventually the stars filed in from outside and it was immediately apparent that they were ALL THERE. Every last one of them. Amy Acker came by me, and I finally got to see her close up:
|No, she really doesn't age.|
|Adelle cut off all her hair! Maybe she's in hiding.|
He said he's a huge fan of William Shakespeare, adding that he's written some pretty good stuff and he predicts big things for the guy (but that he's really difficult to get a hold of when you try to reach him). He promised a Q&A after the film (YES!!! I've only been to the Elgin Theatre during TIFF one other time where there was a Q&A — Michael Moore — because it's one of the few places that doesn't allow them, so I was a little worried the day before when I realized the venue.) And the lights went down, and the movie started.
I won't spoil it for you (as much as one can spoil a 400-year-old text) but I will say a few things:
The movie was filmed at Joss's house. His house is GORGEOUS.
That said... and I have to say this... I cannot describe the feeling that came over me during the scene where Benedick confronts Claudio and threatens him after Beatrice has asked Benedick to do this for him. It was shot in the study, which is wall-to-wall built-in bookshelves. I'm assuming the books on the shelves are Joss's, and you know me: I paid more attention to the background than what was happening in the foreground (I know the play, I know what's being said). And imagine my shock when I saw one particular book cover on the top shelf behind Benedick: Twilight.
Freakin' TWILIGHT. I... have no words. Was it a joke? Please tell me it was a joke.
OK, back to the film. I'm thrilled to report that it's wonderful. It's well known about Whedon fans that Joss Whedon would film the TV shows during the week, and on weekends would invite the cast over to his house and they'd all read Shakespeare and act it out. As a result, the cast of the film — largely consisting of members of Whedon's TV troupe — knows the material so well it just comes out of their mouths as easily as modern-day English does. The film is a modernized version of the play, and to be honest, I find many modern-day interpretations to be rather tedious and the contrasts clash too much to make it work. Shakespeare's language isn't what's in the way — I think his words can be translated into any setting if done properly — but sometimes the director is just trying too hard. Not so with this. Joss knew the strengths of each of his cast members, and used it. The scene where Claudio, Leonato, and Don Pedro all pretend to not notice that Benedick is eavesdropping while they talk of Beatrice's love for him is BRILLIANTLY handled, mostly because Alexis Denisof — who has been shown to play the deepest, saddest character imaginable — started out on Buffy by being a goofy Watcher known more for his slapstick than his seriousness, and Alexis pulls them all out here. It was like watching early Wesley again, even though for most of the movie he plays the dashing Benedick unlike any other character he's done in the Whedonverse.
Amy Acker similarly handled herself well, and in the mirror scene where Hero is tricking her into thinking Benedick is in love with her, Acker pulls off a pratfall that outdoes everything Denisof had pulled off in the previous scene.
Fran Kranz is Claudio, and we finally get to see him in a Whedon production where he isn't jittery and nerdy, but at ease with himself, albeit one who is easily manipulated. (And in case, like me, you were wondering what the heck is on the poster for the film, that's actually Claudio, super-drunk, in a pool just before Don John (Sean Maher) and Conrade begin their deceit.
Speaking of Conrade, he's played as a woman in this version (Riki Lindhome), which changes the interpretation of some of the language completely; they're not comrades, but lovers. And the way Joss plays with the language to make it suit that sort of pairing is hilarious.
I remember wondering what Joss would do with the line where Claudio insists he'll marry Hero's sister to make amends, even "were she an Ethiope." Some directors now choose to omit it, but Joss leaves the line in, and makes it laugh-out-loud hilarious.
However, pretty much everyone in the film is upstaged by Nathan Fillion as Dogberry, the bumbling detective, and his sidekick Verges, played by Tom Lenk. They are screamingly funny, and the audience was in stitches throughout (there were definitely plenty of Browncoats in attendance, for when Fillion makes his first appearance about 1/3 of the way into the film, the place erupted with screams and applause).
|Check out Lenk's porn stache.|
And, of course, the Whedonite in me can't help but almost weep when Benedick and Beatrice finally open their eyes and get together:
I wanted to shout, "FRED AND WESLEY FOREVER!!" but didn't want to be that annoying person at a premiere. ;) But still, you can't help but watch these two together if you're an Angel fan and NOT think, "Sigh... this is what it would have been like if Illyria hadn't shown up."
After the movie (which had a long standing ovation and shouts and cheers from the audience), Joss got back up on stage, once again overwhelmed by the love (I think he might have been a little teary!)
|I love this photo, because if there's anyone who embodies|
"When Indie Meets Epic," it's Joss.
|The second half, taking a bow, and I apologize I didn't get a|
better pic, but the Q&A started and I wanted to record it.
Afterward, the cast went out the back door and I saw most of them again, and once again Alexis and Fran stopped to sign for everyone, while the women shot straight into a cab. (Oddly, there were no preassigned vehicles to pick them up; the volunteers were desperately trying to hail cabs for them while they waited inside the doorway).
|The crowd waiting for them to come out (I didn't want any|
autographs so I took pics from across the street).
|Fran and Alexis heading straight for the crowd.|
|Fran finished, and then had to stand and wait|
while Alexis took on the other side of the crowd.
|Alexis being swarmed. He was on his phone|
when he walked out... could he have been chatting
with Alyson? (Asks the Buffy ubergeek.)
|Olivia Williams, Jillian Morghese, and Kai heading to the cab.|
Kai is the one in front holding the coat.