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Amy Verner

Fred Lum

'Well, they were nice to me tonight," quipped Colin Farrell, referring to the riff-raff of red-carpet paparazzi. While promoting his film Triage on Saturday, the actor acted as any brother would, getting into a verbal tiff with a photographer who allegedly yelled at his sister to move out of the way.

Mr. Farrell returned to the red carpet last night, this time for Ondine, a film directed by Neil Jordan about a fisherman who believes he's caught a mermaid.

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After the screening, he retreated to Atelier on King Street for an intimate gathering put on by New York club Greenhouse. It was a quick trip from the entrance to the sunken-level banquette area where bottles of beer, Jameson Irish Whiskey and energy drinks awaited, so quick in fact that most guests probably did not realize he was accompanied by some very special friends.

At one point, the seating arrangement from left to right looked like this: Mr. Farrell, Bono, wife, Ali Hewson, Terry Gilliam and Mr. Jordan.

U2 is set to play back-to-back concerts in Toronto tomorrow night. Mr. Gilliam's film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, features Mr. Farrell as one of the three stand-ins for Heath Ledger after his death.

The director, whose film doesn't screen until Friday, will have been in town for over a week. "I'm kind of stuck here," he admitted, explaining that he had to arrive early for a Sony Pictures Classics commitment at the start of TIFF. On the plus side, he said he's been able to space interviews out so that they won't all be crammed into the festival's final day.

I couldn't help but notice that Mr. Gilliam has worn the same outer jacket each time I've seen him. Any significance? It's hand-painted from London, he informed me, adding that he always defaults to it as his way of looking put-together.

Having interviewed Mr. Farrell for Triage on Saturday, I'll say this much: he is far more charming, insightful and well behaved than the media occasionally portrays him to be. Of course there's also the comic side; when I confessed I hadn't seen Ondine, he scolded, "That's it, no free drinks for you!" But basically, he's the type of guy you want on your side. His sister is a lucky lady.


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From Sunday's Chloe party, and with a new spring in my step, I headed down to Tattoo Rock Parlour, anticipating the arrival of Drew Barrymore and the cast of Whip It! They did not disappoint.

Slowly, the film's stars filled the raised banquette area where they were immediately greeted with food and drink. A surprisingly petite Kristen Wiig seemed eager to break into the paper-thin crust pizza in front of her; an even more petite Ellen Page looked pouty.

The narrow VIP area quickly became a can of boldface sardines; I spied Jason Reitman and wife Michelle Lee, Toronto photographer Chris Wahl, Precious actress Gabourney Sidibe, young noteworthy actor Mark Rendall and Justin Long (aka Mr. Mac ad) and finally Ms. Barrymore, who was ushered into the prime corner booth.

Did the movie make Mr. Rendall, who recently starred in Victoria Day, want to roller skate? "F-yeah," said the long-time friend of Ms. Page.

"But now it's like women conquered it in the film so men can't do it any more."

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Meanwhile, across a dance floor of aging hipsters and girls in party frocks were Daniel Stern, Harvey Weinstein and Rebecca De Mornay. When the Risky Business knockout eventually came over to Ms. E.T. (the movies spaced apart by one year), Ms. Barrymore could be seen pantomiming an "I'm not worthy" head bowing.

Which brings us to her inkwell-dipped hair; blond and straight-from-the-beach styled on top (care of Jamal Hammadi) with the lowest inch dyed black. And she confirmed that it was permanent colour. Mothers, be prepared: you're daughter will be rocking this good-girl-gone-bad look by next week.

Watching all the activity with me was Nobu Adilman, whose quirky cooking show Food Jammers began its third season last night. Get ready to watch him and compadres make bicycle-powered croissants, ice fish and chips and Grand Am curry. "Usually I'm drinking beer with Micah and Chris," he said of finding inspiration. Here's an idea: peg an episode to Whip It! and make roller skate wing.

And with that, someone whispered into my ear that the gals were heading over to Sweaty Betty's for after party, part deux. Never one to throw in the towel before 2 a.m. during the festival, I soon arrived there with two pals. Without fail, Whip It! had the beloved Ossington dive bar whipped. There were Steigl beers here, Steigl beers there, Steigl, Steigl everywhere! The graphic red-and-white cans looked particularly striking against Ms. Barrymore's Galliano dress.

Everyone retreated to the patio, canopied with branches - a scene straight out of a ballet set in Brooklyn and a fitting milieu for gamines unafraid of grit. It was a vignette unique to TIFF. Fade to black.



There was nothing planned about my reunion with Geoffrey Rush. It happened on Sunday, 10:53 p.m. in a Yorkville parking lot. I was coming out of an elevator; he was sitting on the back of a golf cart.

But first, the after-party for Chloe.

The setting: a massive tented lounge scene erected on the roof of the same parking lot where I would later run into Mr. Rush. The novelty nightspot that oozes with ET Canada branding (the show can do taping with talent throughout the evening) replaces the parties thrown at Casa Loma over the past few years.

Fellow Canadian filmmakers Sook-Yin Lee and Don McKellar showed up to support the film which was largely shot in the neighbourhood. (The Hazelton Hotel and Windsor Arms might as well be supporting characters.)

Vancouver-based actor Chad Willett said he was getting pumped for tonight's screening of his film Cole although he also sang the praises of Defendor director Peter Stebbings, who basked in the afterglow of his screening on this same rooftop Saturday night.

But what about Julianne Moore? Amanda Seyfried? Ivan Reitman? Well, they pretty much held court in a cube of white sofas partitioned off from the riffraff by gauzy white curtains.

Ms. Moore, the equivalent of Megan Fox for the thinking over-40 set and looking every bit off-the-runway in emerald green Yves Saint Laurent, emerged just long enough for people to swoon. I introduced myself as the person who would occasionally walk beside her on the treadmill while she was here shooting Chloe and received a faint sign of recognition. (Doesn't everyone look different when dripping with sweat?)

"It's always great to be here; I love Toronto," she said before being pulled away by some doting fans. There were two ways to leave the rooftop: By golf cart, which would need to wind down through the entire lot, or by elevator. Good thing I chose the latter. When the doors opened, I turned the corner and came face to face with Mr. Rush who was on his way up.

"Amy, my darling!" exclaimed the Shine actor. (To refresh: he is my one constant TIFF out-of-towner buddy; we gab every year, at every party.) A warm embrace ensued as did introductions to two people who may or may not have been producers on his movie Bran Nue Dae (I was way too distracted to focus).

"Of all the gin joints in all the world ..." he mused, reciting one of the most famous lines in film history. Even if I'm not the Bergman to his Bogart, he had me blushing.

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