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Stars talk on and off the screen as fans, industry soak it all in at TIFF 2019

This year’s series began Saturday afternoon with Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan, in town with their well-received courtroom drama 'Just Mercy.'
Credit: Kevin Winter, Getty Images for TIFF
Tom Hanks attends the 'A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood' premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 07, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

TORONTO, ON — In addition to movies – lots of movies – which attendees to the 44th annual international film festival here embrace like no others, each year a few stars get to shine off the screen, too, in what TIFF calls “In Conversation With.”

This year’s series began Saturday afternoon with Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan, in town with their well-received courtroom drama “Just Mercy,” bringing down the house with some easy friendship banter, career discussion and Foxx’s slew of celeb impressions.

On Sunday, it was Antonio Banderas’ turn, talking all things life, including the Oscar buzz surrounding his work in director Pedro Almodovar’s contemplative “Pain and Glory,” now also showing here.

Allison Janney (“Bad Education”) and Kerry Washington (“American Son”) also will appear for chats Monday and Thursday, respectively, in an ever-popular series designed to give fans a chance to connect with a few of their favorites.

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If not... Well, then there’s also the red carpet, and, believe me, there’s nothing like getting in the middle of a TIFF red carpet scene, especially during the festival’s opening weekend.

The throngs, before just about every film, go at least five rows deep, depending on the popularity of the actor/actress, and there was an endless supply this weekend. Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”), Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”), Nicole Kidman (“The Goldfinch”), Adam Driver (“The Report” and “Marriage Story”), Scarlett Johansson (“JoJo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story”) and Eddie Redmayne  and Felicity Jones (stars of “The Aeronauts”) have all been here.

Then there’s tonight’s re-carpet lineup: Matt Damon and Christian Bale (both from “Ford v Ferrari”), Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Banderas (all from “The Laundromat”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”), Adam Sandler (“Uncut Gems”) and countless more.

By the way, if anyone’s counting, from all of the above titles, “Pain and Glory,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” and “The Aeronauts” have been among my favorites so far.

We’ll try to catch up on many more before returning here Wednesday with another report. Meanwhile, check out tiff.net for more festival info.

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