Toronto International Film Festival: Viggo, we love you, yeah yeah yeah


Celebrity sightings? Michelle Devereaux just spotted God at this year's Toronto International Film Festival:


Toronto, Wednesday, 12:09am: I have just left the Ryerson Theatre, where I fear I have contracted a serious case of Viggomania — a condition characterized by fever, light-headedness, and general idiocy when Ultimate Man Viggo Mortensen is in the vicinity. And he happens to be in town for the premiere of Alatriste, a swashbuckling Spanish-language adventure epic he stars in as titular anti-hero Diego Alatriste, a 17th-century Spanish mercenary.

Not only do I succumb to the hysteria of the crowd surrounding him outside the theater as he amiably signs autographs (for crazed women of all ages and races, and I have grainy camera-phone shots to prove it), but I have a permanent idiot grin on my face accompanied by a giddy laugh so inappropriately metered out that most would think me a mental patient at first glance (and maybe second). I decide it’s best not to attempt to speak to the man, so I hang back and gawk.

Inside, Viggo addresses the crowd by saying something in Spanish (I have no idea what, but it sounds fantastic). He is joined by the film’s director, Agustin Diaz Yanes — who finds David Cronenberg in the crowd and calls him “one of the world’s greatest directors” — and a few other Spanish actors, whose names I can’t really recall right now because they were standing next to Viggo Mortensen.

After the screening, they all receive a five-minute standing ovation, during which time Viggo approaches Cronenberg and gives him a triumphant hug. Yanes follows his lead. The air is full with the heady odor of circle jerk, but it’s all good. Sadly, there’s no Q&A (apparently they are saving it for the second screening), so the talent is whisked out of a side door.

When I exit the theater into the rain I notice a large crowd has formed around the requisite talent limo, which is spilling out into the slick street in a crush of umbrella-toting bodies (it seems this disease has become highly contagious). A petite TIFF volunteer vainly tries to corral the mob off the street, God bless her, as I squash in for a better view and wait. Meanwhile, Cronenberg has emerged from the regular exit and has to squeeze by the throng, which frankly greets him with total indifference (he’s local anyway). Viggo! Viggo! I chant in my head, my heart racing faster, fever burning, face flushed with anticipation. Then it dawns on me. I’m a freakin’ journalist, for Chrissakes. This isn’t right. So I reluctantly walk away before the man of the hour has even emerged. As I follow Cronenberg down the street and watch him get into his car, I can’t help but wonder…

When is that second screening again?


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