Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Timothée Chalamet TIFF Red Carpet & Elgin Screening for Beautiful Boy

Timothée Chalamet about to sign my copy of Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
Note: Review of Beautiful Boy will be posted the week of Oct 12th. Hint, I give it an A- and yes, Timmy will get an Oscar nomination.

{Click on an image to see it on full screen and to scroll through all images}

Part I: The Red Carpet

At the end of this article, there are over a dozen exclusive images taken by me from covering the red carpet World Premiere of Timothée Chalamet's Beautiful Boy at the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall, and the Q&A at the Elgin theatre on 7 September. Firstly, I must admit that I went into Toronto kind of nervous that all the money I put into attending TIFF this year was going to be a waste. So as you can imagine, I'm so thankful that everything related to Timmy and Beautiful Boy was perfect! It was such a hassle getting tickets to one of the three Beautiful Boy screenings (see below) that I knew the red carpet would be in high demand and because I have avoided Roy Thomson Hall red carpets for the past five years or so, I was uncertain as to the logistics of the fan area and the sweet spot time to line up.

Although I tried my best to give tips to fellow Timmy stans at this thread at Club Chalamet, it was just guidelines and advice from my experience as a festival goer, and not an actual insider. So I had to roll with the flow once I arrived in Toronto at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. Upon my arrival into downtown Toronto, I contacted one Timmy stan at 8:30am, and she informed me that people were already lining up. Just insane. I hadn't even brushed my teeth yet from the red eye flight. So that's when I walked over to RTH to assess the lineup situation. There were already about 20 people in line and people slowly coming each passing moment. After further consideration, I decided to not go to my 12:30 film, Vox Lux, as I would jeopardize getting a good spot on the red carpet. This was literally the reason why I spent so much money to be there; to be in prime position to report back to my readers and fellow Timmy stans, a clear view of the red carpet and seeing Timmy, if just for 15 seconds. I couldn't check into my hotel at 9:45am, but they allowed me to use the ladies locker room of the gym to shower, change, and fix myself up for a long day of the red carpet and the following screening at the Elgin at 8pm. As planned, I arrived back at the red carpet by 11 am ready to hold fort until the red carpet started around 5pm.

Getty Image of me in burgundy jacket w/ Timmy and fans
Security permitted us to line up along the red carpet early so that we could get a good spot, and thankfully, we selected a spot at the end of the fan section and it turned out to be the perfect spot. There were three "fan" sections: I was in the regular camp out all day fan group, and the other two fan pits were lottery winners of the sponsored section. By 5pm, the crowds swelled in the fan pit and it was getting uncomfortable because people think that by pushing you into the barricade, you will evaporate and thus, allow them to stand in the front. It's amazing what you put your body through in order to get a glimpse of a genius, and this may be my only shot doing this for Timmy. The first big screams came as the co-stars of the film, and authors of the books, David and Nic Sheff arrived. But none of them signed autographs, they just smiled and walked down the red carpet knowing that everyone was there for Timothée. Then, the real screams began as a black SUV dropped off Timmy looking absolutely gorgeous in his Haider Ackerman 2018 Mens Collection suit. So many stans were worried about what would Timmy look like with a bowl cut sans his beautiful curls. But to those who doubted, they were quickly put at ease as Timothée Chalamet looked like he strutted off a Paris fashion runway! It was complete pandemonium, and Timmy deserved all the screams and adulation thrown his way.

Screams from burger girl brought Timmy over to us

As he is known to be, Timothée made a great effort to meet as many fans as possible as he criss crossed each fan section signing books and pictures, taking selfies, and signing food! There were times when it looked like he was delightfully flabbergasted by the shear volume of fans, and signing so many things, but I'm sure he was having blast, so bless his heart! Luckily for me, I stood next to the big mouth burger girl. I knew her big mouth and spastic energy would get Timmy and his people's attention and come over to me/us. As per the image above, Timmy is just about to sign that damn greasy hamburger (I don't even eat red meat), and after he signed it, he signed my book. I didn't even get a chance to say hi or anything as his people were guiding him away, so I'm LUCKY I got him to sign my Beautiful Boy book, and that's what I wanted to accomplish with this Timmy close encounter. Timothée loves his fans and appreciate our support, and that's why he spent so much time with us. And like that, it ended, he was whisked off to take official TIFFy photos and talk to the press. Thank you for this Timmy!

Hanging out at the red carpet is a test of endurance and patience, but we all managed, and got to see/meet the loveliest and most celebrated young actor working today!

Timothée and Steve Carell at The Elgin Q&A

Part II: The Elgin Screening and Q&A

After the stress from hanging out at the red carpet, we headed over to the Elephant & Castle pub for a drink of cranberry juice and vodka - and it helped calm the nerves! We then made our way to the Elgin and our seats were on the left side, 6th row. Very nice seats considering the madness in getting them. As the screening was to begin, the director, Felix Van Groeningen came out to briefly speak and introduce his film and to confirm a Q&A after wards. Now, of all the screenings, The Elgin was my preferred screening because I was the most sure that a Q&A would occur there with a 100% certainty. It was the Ryerson that was more of a 95% chance (and as it came to be, Timmy did not attend Ryerson the following morning). Why? Who knows, but it's a crap shoot for talent to put their all into a huge red carpet world premiere the night before, attend the actual screening at RTH,  and then go to a Q&A at the second screening on Friday night, and then attend premiere party(ies) where I heard he happily partied into the early morning. So it's no shock that he did not attend Ryerson, he most likely was catching up on rest in order to be prepared for other interviews for the rest of the weekend. Ryerson is a good back up to The Elgin, but because there's too much time commitment involved in lining up for hours in order to get in first to get a good seat, and if your preferred talent doesn't show up, it can suck.

I will write a review of Beautiful Boy and release it the week it comes out in limited release. Because I live in LA, I know I will get a chance to see a screening of Beautiful Boy and I want to see it again before I write a review. I was just too much on a red carpet high when watching the film, but of course, I thoroughly enjoyed it enough to give it an A- grade, but I would like to write more about its non-linear storytelling, and the roller coaster ride that the brilliant Timothée went on to share Nic Sheff's story in a realistic and heartbreaking way.

As the film ended, the audience gave a glorious and hearty applause for the film. Then we all quieted down as we realize that Timothée's voice was reading a chapter from Nic's book. We were all spellbound. I never experienced anything like that. It was really an incredible grand finale voice over performance that greatly complemented the conclusion of this emotionally raw film. Kudos for Timothée for doing that! When the lights came up, the cast and creative force behind Beautiful Boy came out to glorious applause. Timothée received thunderous applause, and Steve Carrell received a grand applause too. I think had Maura Tierney attended the premiere, she would have received a warm applause too. But the standing ovation was reserved for David and Nic Sheff whose bravery in being so forthcoming in their books to chronicle the devastation that Nic's drug addiction had on him and his family, which became worse when he got hooked on Meth. To be so honest about this disease is just flat out brave because they opened themselves up so much to the world, but in an effort to help educate us all about how literally anyone can become addicted to this stuff and ruin their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

The Q&A was moderated by one of the TIFF film curators and she asked about a dozen questions which allowed everyone on the stage to respond to a question. I would have liked if the audience was given a chance to ask a question, but sometimes when time is tight, it's best just to limit the Q&A to questions asked by the moderator. Timothée answered a few questions and he came across very grounded, humbled, and just so proud of the work he did to bring David and Nic's story to life. Steve Carell summed it up perfectly when he said that Timothée gave the best audition in the history of the world, and that he cannot imagine anyone else playing Nic with such respect and dedication to the role. So far, critics agree and I strongly believe that Timothée, at the age of 22, will garner his second Oscar nomination, and dammit, this time, he should win it!

Ticket purchase fiasco:

As a member of TIFF, I was greatly disappointed in the trouble I experienced in trying to purchase tickets to the Elgin or Ryerson via proper channels of my window purchase time, and during the member pre-sale. I came up short both times and it was incredibly frustrating and disheartening. I was able to easily secure the other 5 films, but Beautiful Boy was in overwhelming demand. I refuse to pay over $1500 to be a higher level member in order to have an earlier purchasing window. There's still no guarantee. You have to be at the uber higher levels to be so comfortable in your elite status of securing all the tickets you want. And the way TIFF slowly releases tickets throughout the sales period, forces people like me to look to StubHub to secure a ticket, often at inflated prices. Although I managed to get a ticket at a 100% markup, it just pissed me off that someone on the same damn day of the screening, got tickets even closer to the stage at face value. What.the.actual.fuck? And they weren't even a TIFF member!! So, I'm angry that I spent more money at TIFF in an effort to see the one film I really wanted to see. But at the end of the day, I think karma hooked me up, and I have to accept that I was willing to pay the money and I met my goals in getting a good spot along red carpet, getting great 'zoom zoom' images of Timmy, seeing him up close for 28.4 seconds, attending his screening, sitting in reserved 6th row, enjoying the film, and listening to the lovely Q&A. I did alright this year. However, due to the expense of this year's TIFF, I'll skip TIFF next year, Timmy or no Timmy because I have other obligations. But this quick trip to Toronto proved to me that I can visit TIFF in the future for a 2-4 day visit, and I'll maintain my membership so that I can increase my window purchase time for my next TIFF I attend.

Now, enjoy the rest of my photos in chronological order from red carpet to the Q&A! I took so many more, but these are the best! If you want to use my images, please credit 'Theatre of Zen', that's all I ask.

First peak of Timmy on the red carpet

David and Nic Sheff

He's getting closer


My altered Beautiful Boy book with Timmy's face

Signed by Timothée Chalamet!

Timmy just came out on stage at The Elgin

Camera zoom pretty good at this angle!

David Sheff speaking

The actors and their real life characters

Director Felix Van Groeningen

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