Tattle: The inside scoop on Toronto film fest

Posted: September 11, 2012

BEN AFFLECK'S "ARGO," about the CIA's extraction of six Americans from Tehran, Iran, in 1979, was one of the many anticipated films at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

The film premiered Friday night at the beautiful Roy Thomson Hall, and afterward the cast - Affleck (with wife Jennifer Garner), John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber and Tate Donovan - celebrated at Terroni.

In a that's-what-friends-are-for show of support, Affleck buddy Matt Damon flew in to surprise his longtime pal.

* On Saturday, Tattle attended the Sony Pictures Classics dinner with Belgian star on the rise Matthias Schoenaerts ("Rust & Bone"); Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier ("Love Is All You Need" and her cast - Pierce Brosnan, looking every inch a movie star, Trine Dyrholm and Paprika Steen; Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh ("The Gatekeepers"), whose documentary featuring candid interviews with Israeli intelligence is expected to be a controversial talker about Arab-Israeli relations; director Michael Haneke ("Amour"), whose drama about an elderly couple is receiving great buzz; Zac Efron (with needed bodyguards), Dennis Quaid and Kim Dickens, from "At Any Price"; Aaron Paul, of "Breaking Bad" fame, for the upcoming "Smashed"; Gael Garcia Bernal of "No," and director Amy Berg of "West of Memphis," a new documentary about the incredible miscarriage of justice involving three teens who wrongly sat in prison for 18 years on a triple-murder charge.

We interviewed Berg in Toronto and were supposed to also interview Damien Echols (the alleged ringleader of the wrongly convicted West Memphis Three) and his wife, Lorri Davis, but Echols had trouble getting into Canada. Echols' attorney, Steve Braga, told us that his next goal in the case is to get Echols pardoned.

* Sunday morning it was announced that Berg would direct "Every Secret Thing," based on Laura Lippman's suspense novel, with a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener. Diane Lane and Penn grad Elizabeth Banks are attached to star, and shooting is to commence in early 2013.

* On the beautiful-people watch, Ryan Gosling arrived by private jet with a cat in one arm and girlfriend Eva Mendes on the other. With them was Gosling's "The Place Beyond the Pines" co-star, Rydal's Bradley Cooper, who's also here for "The Silver Linings Playbook."

* One of the breakout stars of the festival so far is Bonny, the dognapped shih tzu in Martin McDonagh's "Seven Psychopaths." In Daily News tradition, we spoke with Bonny at Toronto's new Trump Hotel and learned that she was adopted off a Craigslist ad five weeks before she became a movie star. She now lives with her trainer, ClaireDore, six dogs and 10 cats. (There isn't enough Claritin in the world for Tattle to enter that house.) Dore's company, Performing Animal Troupe, also trained the 52 rabbits - Bonny counted them - that appear in the film.

"Psychopaths" star Christopher Walken said: "That dog was an angel. Even on the red carpet the other night with all that noise, cameras and flashbulbs."

* British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Count Vronsky in Joe Wright's sumptuous "Anna Karenina") told us that "Kick-Ass 2" had just begun shooting in Toronto.

"It's time to get back in the green suit," he said.

Would he leak any plot developments?

"We all grow as people," he said.

So that's a "no."

From fests to feasts

Speaking of festivals, Philly is in the midst of one of its edgiest, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, continuing through Sept. 22.

Taking in all the genre-stretching dance, drama and music can ramp up an appetite, which is where Feastival comes in. The annual event, happening from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Pier 9, 121 N. Columbus Blvd., brings together dynamic performers from Fringe and Live Arts ( Brian Sanders' JUNK is this year's headliner) and the region's tastemakers and machers over food and drink provided by top local restaurants and bars.

The event's hosts are Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov and Audrey Claire Taichman, so you know the chefs and mixologists are bringing their A game. More than 800 people are expected. Tix are $250 ($350 VIP). Proceeds benefit Live Arts/Fringe. Details at phillyfeastival.com.

Bradley's 'Words'

On a post-Labor Day weekend historically known for low movie audience turnout, "The Words," featuring Cooper as an aspiring writer and Zoe Saldana as his wife, debuted in third place with $5 million.

Cooper made the flick with two of his childhood friends, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. In the top spot on the openers list was "The Possession," with $9.5 million, followed by "Lawless," $6 million.

Daily News staff writer Laurie Conrad and wire services contributed to this report.

Send e-mail to gensleh@phillynews.com.

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