The 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival opened on Thursday, September 6.
The sci-fi thriller Looper opened this year’s festival. The film was directed and written by Rian Johnson who previously directed star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Brick. The futuristic stylish film noir has Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing a younger and older version of the main character, Joseph Simmons. Set in a future world where time travel is possible but only available on the black market; criminal organizations use the illegal technology to send targets back in time to a Looper, a hitman-for-hire who kills and then disposes the intended victim’s body. Loopers are soldiers for hire who only get paid if the target is taken out. In unexpected twist, the older Joe is sent back in time to be killed by the younger Joe. Older Joe over powers the Looper and escapes. Having failed his job, young Joe’s employers come after him, forcing him to fend for his life while he tracks down his older self.
Stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt appeared at the film’s press conference and premiere.
Another film premiering at the Toronto Film Festival is Walter Salles’ adaption of Jack Kerouac’s novel, On the Road. The novel is widely regarded as the quintessential work from the Beat Generation and was considered unadaptable as a film. In the 50’s, Kerouac tried adapting his novel into a film with Marlon Brando as the lead. Francis Ford Coppola also wanted to direct a film version of the novel in the 70’s but couldn’t get it off the ground. It took a Brazilian director who was best known for The Motorcycle Diaries, to bring this generation defining American story to the big screen.
The autobiographical story follows Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) as stand-in for Jack Kerouac recounting the years spent in the late 1940’s, after the death of his father, traveling the country with his best friend, Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) who was based on real-life Beat figure, Neal Cassidy and Dean’s young wife, Marylou (Kristen Stewart). The film also provides glimpses of the cast of colorful characters they meet in their travels: Old Bull Lee (Viggo Mortensen stand-in for William S. Burroughs); Old Bull’s wife, Jane (Amy Adams); Neal’s second wife, Camille (Kirsten Dunst); Galatea (Elizabeth Moss), a jazz musician (Terrence Howard); Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge) stand-in for Allen Ginsberg; and Steve Buscemi who has an unforgettable sex scene with Hedlund’s Dean.
Sex is a big part of the free-spirited nature of the Beat Generation. In the movie, Marylou (Stewart) is seen topless pleasuring both Sal (Riley) and Neal (Hedlund) in the front seat of the car. She also has a three-way with the two friends. In an unexpected moment for the characters, Dean (Hedlund) who was known to enjoy the company of men and women, prostitutes himself out to Buscemi’s character. In the scene, a nude Hedlund as Dean “vigorously bangs” Buscemi’s sexually opportunistic character.
In an interview with Vulture back In June, Hedlund shared his post-coital interaction with Buscemi after the shooting the scene.
“‘I did feel ridiculous because after [shooting it], I asked him if he wanted to have a cigarette. And he said no! He had always asked me for cigarettes before — ‘Hey, man, can I bum one of those?’ — and after the scene, I was like, ‘Hey, you wanna have a cigarette?’ And he said, ‘Uh, I’m good.’”
Stars Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Stewart, and Garrett Hedlund attended the premiere of On the Road at the opening of the Toronto International Film Festival.