Exclusive! See the Biggest Stars of #TIFF15 Through the Eyes of InStyle’s Photographer Jens Langkjaer
Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, and Michael Shannon of Freeheld
Moore and Page bonded on the set of their film, in which they play a couple that finds themselves at the forefront of the gay rights movement when Moore’s character is diagnosed with cancer and wants her benefits transferred to her partner, played by Page. “I think you see the intimacy, the closeness, and the vulnerability that they have—which was easy with Ellen,” said Moore, adding, "I love a love story."
Natalie Portman of A Tale of Love and Darkness
When shooting the first film that she wrote and directed—in Hebrew, no less—Portman tapped into a role that she knew well. “I felt like sort of a party host on set,” she said. “You’re trying to make sure that everyone knows what the party’s about, is dancing to the same beat, and that everyone is happy and well-taken care of.”
Sandra Bullock, Scoot McNairy, Zoe Kazan, director David Gordon Green, and producer Grant Heslov of Our Brand is Crisis
Bullock stars as a manipulative political consultant working for an unlikable Bolivian presidential candidate in the George Clooney-produced drama. “She is incredibly brilliant at what she does, and she's able to do it without her conscience stepping in up to a certain point," Bullock said of her character. “I think she really reflects human beings—we're complicated, we have baggage, we have a past."
Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore of Miss You Already
Barrymore and Collette became close while filming the movie about the bond between their characters, two best friends going through major life changes. "The film captures something so real and true about female psychology and our connection to each other," said Collette. Added Barrymore, "Toni and I have been the most happy when someone tells us they ran out after the film and called their best friend."
Kate Winslet of The Dressmaker
Winslet was far from an experienced seamstress before taking on the role of a couturier in the adaptation of Rosalie Ham's novel of the same title. "I could sew name labels on to my kids' clothes for school and hem things, but I couldn't sew anything particularly fancy," she said. By the end of filming though, Winslet had adopted her character's skill set in real life. "Now, I could make curtains."
Liam Hemsworth of The Dressmaker
Hemsworth, who portrays a small town's star football player in the film, knows the value of wearing an outfit that fits right. "I would say that tailoring is the most important part of a suit—no matter what brand it is, it needs to be tailored right," he said. "I always have to get my suits tailored because I don’t fit in off-the-rack sizes."
Naomi Watts and Elle Fanning of About Ray
To play the role of a transgender teen named Ray, Fanning had to get into the mindset of her recently-transitioned character—and that involved getting his wardrobe just right. “I had to wear a binder, which is what a lot of transgender guys wear to strap themselves down," she said. "I also wore guys’ boxers and a lot of layers, because Ray wears a lot of layers to hide his unwanted curves."
Emily Blunt of Sicario
Blunt wore two costumes while playing a badass FBI agent tasked with catching a Mexican drug lord. “It was the most unglamorous role,” she said. And filming over three months took its toll on her small onscreen wardrobe. “I get to wear two blue t-shirts, and the same pair of pants and boots. Don’t worry, I washed the t-shirt—it needed to be washed, because it was so hot out."
Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro of Sicario
Blunt’s co-stars were impressed with her sense of humor. “She brings the majority of the fun to the set,” said Brolin. While she may have kept things light while shooting the drama, sometimes her antics proved to be a bit too entertaining. “When [her husband] John [Krasinski] was on the set, the two of them were just going back and forth,” said Brolin. Joked Del Toro, “It was very distracting.”
Sebastian Stan, Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Pena of The Martian
After wrapping her blockbuster Interstellar, Chastain took on another film about space—but she won't be heading there anytime soon. “There’s no part of me that is talented or capable enough to do what these people do," she said. "But I do hope that we start to see more women in these roles. Nothing would make me happier than a seven-year-old girl in the audience saying, ‘I want to be an astronaut when I grow up.’”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Sean Bean and Mackenzie Davis of The Martian
Unlike her co-star Chastain, Davis is game for leaving the planet—but she wouldn't stray too far from home. “I have always wanted to go to outer space, but just so far as I can see Earth,” she said. “Apart from that, I don’t want to go to any other planets—I’d rather go to the bottom of the ocean. I feel like you’d definitely run into aliens there."
Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander of The Danish Girl
Redmayne faced some wardrobe challenges when portraying a transgender woman in 1920s Copenhagen. "Even though the clothes of that time were quite boyish, I was trying to find ways to create curves in things which was difficult," he said, adding that "the idea of androgyny happening in women's fashion in the '20s was very interesting."
Kiernan Shipka of February
Playing the role of a boarding school student who becomes possessed by an evil spirit was exciting for Shipka. "I certainly have never played a character like this before," she said. "There's a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity." Another first for the star? Performing music on-camera while in character. "I've never sung or played the piano in a film before now," she said.
Lucy Boynton of February
"I scare really easily, so I wasn't a huge fan of horror movies before reading this script," said Boynton, who plays an older schoolmate of Shipka's character in the movie. "But in preparation for this film, [director] Oz [Perkins] sent us a list of classic horror films to watch. They had so much more to them than just the typical horror slasher drenched in blood, so now I'm a fan."
Kiernan Shipka and Lucy Boynton of February
The duo's characters don't have much to do with one another at first. "In the beginning of the film when our characters first start interacting, my character, Rose, is very much in her own world and concerned with her own problems," said Boynton. "In a way, [Shipka's character] Kat doesn’t even exist to her, and you can kind of empathize with that element—until she’s forced to acknowledge her."
Oz Perkins of February
The thriller's director knew exactly what kind of horror film he wanted to create. "The movie is a very poised and quiet thing," he said. "It’s not a frantic, shrill movie—it was never meant to be." There was an easy way to make sure things stayed calm. "One of the rules was that the camera was never handheld," said Perkins. "It's not a shaky kind of horror movie that follows you around desperately screaming."
Tom Hiddleston of I Saw the Light
To portray late country singer Hank Williams, Hiddleston had to get his sound just right. "It was a rhythmic thing," the English actor said of learning to sing in an American accent. "I had to listen to a lot of the blues." His inspiration? "The sound of the American diner," said Hiddleston. "When you come to the states and you go into a diner to order a burger and fries, you hear those songs on the jukebox."
Elizabeth Olsen of I Saw the Light
Olsen's was impressed by Hiddleston's impersonation of Hank Williams. "It was really incredible to watch his transition," she said. "By the end of filming, he was so confident in his version of Hank that they went back and rerecorded a lot of the songs. There was so much growth just by being comfortable with the character, that it ended up transforming the singing."
Topher Grace of Truth
Grace stars as a researcher in the political thriller that follows Dan Rather's last days at CBS amid controversy in 2006. "He is a conspiracy theorist, and I think like most conspiracy theorists, some percentage of what he’s saying is correct," Grace said of his character. "But it’s up to the audience to decide if that’s 99% or if that’s 2%."
Elisabeth Moss of Truth
"I think that in our society, when anyone can put stuff on the internet, you search something and it will come up as fact when it’s not," said Moss, who plays a journalism professor in the film. "It's interesting to realize the power that we have over the information that’s out there—and that power is important to respect."
Alia Shawkat of Green Room
When filming the thriller, Shawkat had to get into the mindset of her character, the guitarist in a punk band that's fighting to survive after performing for a group of white supremacists. "Maintaining the mood on set was exhausting but fun," she said. "We were jumping up and down to get our adrenaline going. You have to hyperventilate all day, every day, for three weeks."
Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, and Imogen Poots of Green Room
A musician in real life, Yelchin was eager to prep for the role. "I went through all of my old music that I hadn’t listened to in awhile, like Japanese punk that I was really into," he said. "It brought back a lot of good memories of making mixes with my band, The Hammerheads.'" Added Yelchin, "I did not name the band, I simply conceded to the horrible name."
Patrick Stewart of Green Room
Stewart isn't quick to judge his character, the club owner tormenting the band. "I find it restricting to think in terms of, ‘Oh he’s a bad guy,’" he said. "I mean, maybe he’s got a dog who loves him!" That way of thinking goes for all of his films. "I don’t think about the roles that I play as being categorized in a particular way—but given the right circumstances, we all have a demon inside us somewhere."
Connor Jessup of The Closet Monster
Starring as a teen keeping his homosexuality a secret in the coming-of-age drama, Jessup's character is comforted by his talking pet hamster, voiced by Isabella Rossellini. "In the script, the voice is described as almost digital and Siri-like," he said. "Once Isabella came on board, she added an entirely different feeling and element to the film."
Géza Röhrig of Son of Saul
To portay a worker in a Holocaust concentration camp, Röhrig had to change his entire demeanor. "I had to keep myself in a state of mind, so I didn't feel like chit-chatting between the scenes," he said. That wasn't all he avoided. "I have a very sweet tooth, but I didn’t feel like eating dessert during filming. It was a different way of life just to make sure that I didn't lose focus."
Odessa Young of The Daughter
Young plays a local teen in the family drama revolving around a rural New South Wales community. "I feel like were quite similar in terms of having more primitive first responses to things," Young said of her character. "How she immediately feels about certain things correlates to how I immediately tuned in to feeling about it—but I got pretty good at separating her emotions from my own on set."
Geoffrey Rush, Odessa Young, Paul Schneider, and director Simon Stone of The Daughter
Rush, who stars as the owner of the small town's mill in the film, had a different career path than his co-star, Young. "When I was 16, I was in high school plays," he said. "She’s done two films, and they both went Venice Film Festival." Joked Rush, "I find that really annoying."
Davis Guggenheim of He Named Me Malala
Guggenheim was inspired when filming the documentary about Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old who was shot for speaking out about girls' education in Pakistan in 2012. "At its core, this is a father-daughter story," said the director. "You think it’s just about her, but actually her father, Zia, plays a very big role in this. And as a father of two daughters, I wonder what he did to create this powerful voice in this little girl."
Idris Elba of Beasts of No Nation
Elba wanted to add a bit of softness to his character, the commander of a rebel military faction in Africa. "He’s a bad guy, but I wanted to humanize him," said Elba. "I didn't want people to like him, but I wanted them to be able to see his dilemma and that he was a real human being. Even though I couldn’t relate to him, I wanted bring him alive on camera and make him redeemable."
Agyness Deyn of Sunset Song
Deyn takes on the role of a Scottish teenager who longs to leave her farm town behind in the film adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's 1932 novel. "It was fun to play someone who feels real and has flaws," she said. "Even the period costumes weren't perfect—the clothes had holes in them and were hand-stitched."
Daniel Brühl and Michael Nyqvist of Colonia
Brühl stars as an artist who is kidnapped and consequently becomes part of a commune in 1970s Chile, but his co-star Emma Watson is the movie's ultimate hero. "Emma plays my girlfriend, who is desperate to get me out of this cult," he said. "She's this strong young woman who does everything to save me. At first, she looks so feminine and fragile—but then she becomes stronger throughout the film."
Brie Larson of Room
Larson had to physically transform herself to portray a woman who is kidnapped and kept in a room for years with the son she bears in captivity. "There's no sunlight in the room, so I stayed out of the sun for four months prior to filming to get really pale," said Larson. "My character has no means to take care of herself, so I didn’t wash my face and I had to grow out all of my body hair."
Clemence Poesy of The Ones Below
Poesy plays the role of an expectant mother in the psychological drama about a wealthy London couple's relationship with their new neighbors. "I’ve had other parts where I've played mothers, but this was my first time exploring maternity and what it meant really," she said. "It's a very deep look into the relationships between mothers and daughters when your relationship with your mother is a bit tricky."
Bryan Cranston of Trumbo
Cranston portrays screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was jailed and blacklisted from Hollywood after being interrogated by the government for his alleged communist ties. "The film highlights the cautionary tale that any time civil liberties are in jeopardy, people should take notice and be concerned," said Cranston. "It reminds us that men went to jail just because the government was dissatisfied with their answers."
John Goodman of Trumbo
Goodman, who portrays Dalton Trumbo's producer onscreen, believes that the story's theme still resonates with audiences today when it comes to villainizing others. "I think social media seems to be doing a dandy job at that," said Goodman. "You’re instantly tried, judged and tried. People are listening to their emotions, instead of their reasons.