The coolest party of the year – at least two days into the 33rd annual Toronto Film Festival – was thrown by Focus Features, et al Friday night to celebrate the hugely entertaining “Burn After Reading,” the latest from the Oscar-winning brothers Coen, Ethan and Joel.
Both were on hand – by the way immediately heading right for the buffet spread at the ultra-hip Spice Route restaurant -- upon entering from the gala showing of their CIA comedy follow-up to the extensively more serious “No Country for Old Men.”
Most of their stars were there, too, save for George Clooney, who apparently got his fill of adoring Toronto crowds last year during his “Michael Clayton” tour. Tilda Swinton, the Best Supporting Actress (for “Clayton”) wasn’t there, either, though she was scheduled for interviews the next day.
Regardless, scene-stealing Brad Pitt, who plays a clueless and very funny health-club trainer, sneaked in the back door for the private party but chose to sit with pals Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo. They’re in Toronto as “The Brothers Bloom,” con men extraordinaire in a convoluted caper-comedy of the same name.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, “Burn” people Richard Jenkins, John Malkovich and a terrific-looking Frances McDormand (she’s Mrs. Joel Coen) partied politely hardy. So did “RocknRolla” stars Gerard Butler and Jeremy Piven, who were left over from doing press for their Guy Ritchie film.
One special moment: As I was leaving, three of the great character actors around -- Jenkins, Malkovich and Piven (whose “Entourage” begins a new season on HBO Sunday night) – were spotted engaging in deep conversation. How special would a film with these three be? Only, who would play the lead?
Another thought: If Pitt stayed over until Saturday, which he likely did since he was still at Spice Route well after midnight, he could run into ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. The “Friends” star, still trying to make a major mark in movies, was expected to fly in for the world premiere of a dark festival comedy called “Management,” which co-stars the ever-versatile Steve Zahn and Woody Harrelson.
Stay tuned here. We’ll let you know if Brad/Jen re-connect – and some other movie stuff – when we bring you more from Toronto in a few days.
John M. Urbancich
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