Michelle Devereaux is in Toronto. Here's her first report:
“I’m hearing Oscar buzz!” a giddy audience member shouted after the second public TIFF screening of For Your Consideration Tuesday afternoon, kicking off a 10-minute-plus Q&A with the cast and director Christopher Guest. She was being ironic — the film-within-the-film is a little indie that receives tons of Oscar speculation — but who knows? She might not be too far off base.
Catherine O’Hara, who was in attendance looking like the polar opposite of her train wreck of a character, gives the performance of her career playing a washed-up actress who lets the Oscar talk push her into Norma Desmond territory. “I should have an infomercial with no product,” she said while demonstrating her natural ability to replicate that bad-facelift look for the awed crowd and enthusing about the “lovely, extra-long white teeth,” and “beautiful waxy finish” she received from the make-up department.
O’Hara and Guest were joined by Harry Shearer, Fred Willard, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Lynch (the movie’s standout performer, John Michael Higgins, was a no-show). Guest, smacking on gum and visibly struck by the grandeur of the Elgin Theatre, talked about editing down 50 hours of footage that was “85 to 90 percent” improv.
Posey caused a brief scandal after admitting she was never much of a This is Spinal Tap fan because she “doesn’t like heavy metal,” Balaban visibly blushed when a woman told him she was a big fan, and Willard (who plays an idiotic Entertainment Tonight-style talk show host), discussed the stupefying hairstyle he sports in the film. “I had a wig planned, and it was beautiful,” he said wistfully. “Then they told me we were going with something called a ‘faux hawk.’”
When Guest was asked if he was worried about being lumped in with other movies that “mock Hollywood,” he was a little nonplussed. “You’re not including Troy, are you?” he asked. You just can’t get stuff like this at an industry screening, kids. Power to the people.