You know, I get the impression that it seems to be (a) old B-listers, and (b) these younger actors and actresses who are trying to promote themselves, who bother to show up each year at the Star! Schmooze. Yes, in terms of quantity they attracted a lot of people, and sure they're good actors, but really the only big name there that I can think of was Samuel L. Jackson. When the crowd saw him arrive they went absolutely nuts. "It's Samuel L Motherf***ing Jackson!" And the crowd broke out in a chant of "Samuel L! Samuel L!". Samuel L. was soaking it all up.
But really, beyond that, who was there? I know some of the girls went nuts for John Abraham, big Bollywood actor, but I thought who cares about him. If you really wanted to see big stars you had to be at Roy Thomson Hall to check out Penelope Cruz, Reese Witherspoon and Christina Ricci--- and oh yeah, Samuel L. Motherf***ing Jackson was there, too. So you got more bang for your bucks down there as far as I'm concerned. All the autograph hounds were at Roy Thomson Hall. The whole press corps was there, too; some guy from Access Hollywood was whipping the crowd into a frenzy. And people from CTV News were handing out cool flashlights to people which had the CTV News logo on them. So you got more souvenirs and saw more really big names down there than you did at the ChumCity building--- but the red carpet event at Citytv attracted more people.
People were standing there outside the ChumCity building thinking Brad Pitt might show up with Angelina Jolie, or that J.Lo would show up--- but that was total wishful thinking. Brad Pitt should show up for Babel's screening tonight, though. Actually, that seems rather typical of this film festival--- everyone goes around telling each other that every star from Hollywood is walking the streets of Toronto. All these actors are probably sitting at home in LA right now and nowhere near Toronto. Yet people here convince themselves that Tom Cruise is in town, so they hang out outside the Four Seasons Hotel waiting in vain to catch a glimpse of him, and then they go to the Star! Schmooze thinking he'll be there with Katie Holmes, and then he doesn't show up.
In fact it was the same story last year at the Schmooze--- occasionally some big name like Kris Kristofferson would show up, or some big director, and then it would be a parade of people that would have folks scratching their heads going "who's that?" I'm not saying that Sarah Polley and Eugene Levy aren't big names. I'm just saying they could have attracted even bigger people, that's all. You could have filled out the cast of Snakes on a Plane with the crowd that was on display last night. It was Samuel L. Jackson and, uh, a few other local people, plus the usual hacks from Citytv, Terry David Mulligan and the rest of them. I wasn't impressed.