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TIFF scene report: What you missed on the fest’s first night

Actor Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, producer Susan Downey, at the gala for their film ‘The Judge’ at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 4, 2014.


That audible "a-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w" you might have heard erupting from Toronto's downtown core around 6 p.m. Thursday evening? That was the collective sigh of hundreds of swooners after Robert Downey Jr. paused on the red carpet to give his wife, Susan, a kiss on the hand. The gesture was adoring, deferential even, and also not the first instance of PDA from RDJ in the GTA.

Earlier that day, the parents-to-be walked hand-in-hand down the hallway of the hotel where he did press for TIFF's opening-night movie, The Judge (also starring Robert Duvall and Vera Farmiga). Turns out Downey has reason to be so appreciative. Chatting with press, he explained how Susan had brought the script to him and encouraged him to have a look at the project.

Forever Iron Man

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Reviews for the movie have so far been mixed, but love for The Judge's leading man was universal – even if some fans seem to have forgotten what movie he's here for. On the carpet, Downey posed for a snap with a nine-year-old boy dressed as Iron Man. Later, a fan outside The Judge's after party at Montecito restaurant vocalized some aggressive affection for a certain Marvel superhero, bellowing "Ironman. Iron-n-n-n- m-a-a-a-a-n-n-n-n-n," as the tuxedo-clad actor posed for pics then slipped inside.

Al Pacino on Joan Rivers

Also working the red carpet last night was Al Pacino. He's in town for his latest, The Humbling, though it was another movie that he wanted to talk about – Joan Rivers's 2010 documentary A Piece of Work. "It's the most beautiful thing. I knew her, but I got to know her even better in this documentary and I'm very sorry that she's gone," he said. Pacino was on his second night of TIFFing, having spent Wednesday at a $1,500-a-plate Producers Ball alongside David Cronenberg muse Sarah Gadon.

Move over Sarah Gadon

As well as being a TIFF usual suspect (she's had movies here for the last three years), Sarah Gadon is also a former Toronto Life Style Book cover girl. Last night, though, that honour went to 16-year-old Chloe Rogers (yes, that Rogers). The telecommunications heiress was the belle of the ball at Toronto Life magazine's third annual Most Stylish bash, held to coincide with the opening of the festival. This year, almost a thousand people sipped, strutted and side-eyed at the Four Seasons hotel. Ms. Rogers Jr. (Jr.) has thus far lived largely outside of the public eye, but that's not likely to last given her newfound status as the sartorial socialite to beat. At her unofficial coming out, she hung with mother, Suzanne, a fashion party vet to put it mildly. The latter wore a can't-miss-me colourful gown by Greek designer Mary Katrantzou while Chloe was more subdued in a top and pants by ASOS, plus mom's Balmain jacket. Because, you know, what's the point of having a parent with a stadium size closet if you can't take a stroll in it?

Spot the Gyllen-hunk tonight

Friday night's biggest ticket is the premier of Jake Gyllenhaal's first ever-producing credit, Nightcrawler. He also stars in the movie, playing a certified sociopath (and unabashed man-bun wearer) Lou Bloom. His performance is fantastic, so he should be in good spirits at the movie's official after party at Soho House. No word on how long the Gyllen-hunk will stay in Hogtown, but a second night could mean a run in with his ex Reese Witherspoon. (Oh please – you know you want it). With two movies at this year's fest, the "Queen of TIFF 2014" title is Witherspoon's to lose.

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TIFF's $10K man

As for the king, smart money's on Channing Tatum. How popular is this guy? Popular enough that a local VJ (Maura Grierson from 99.9 Virgin Toronto) is offering $10,000 to anyone who can get him into the Virgin studios during her morning show. Will he do it? On the one hand, it seems like a fun publicity op. On the other, being a willing participant in your own bounty hunt could make for a dangerous precedent.

Spot Bill Murray

One man almost certain to pop up in an unexpected place over the next few days is Bill Murray, here for his movie St. Vincent as well as Friday's celebration of the first ever Bill Murray Day. The legendary funnyman has become famous in recent years for eschewing red carpets and Hollywood schmooze-fests in favour random karaoke bars and amateur sporting events, so if you see a familiar face serving you ice cream or sweeping up your spilled popcorn you may want to get a picture.

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