TIFF PHOTO GALLERY: Adam Brody, Greta Gerwig and Analeigh Tipton join Whit Stillman at the red carpet for Damsels in Distress
The wind whipping down Yonge Street yesterday afternoon wreaked havoc on the hemlines of the Damsels in Distress ladies, in the most delightful way. Carrie MacLemore was the first to arrive, her flouncy grey knee-length frock bouncing in the breeze, and seemed quite tickled to be walking the carpet for her feature film debut. Mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig strolled by in black and didn’t pose for a single solo shot (earning a few enemies in the photo pit) while a very slender Analeigh Tipton playfully blew kisses at the cameras in a long, sheer number. Adam Brody cut a dashing figure in a skinny black suit with a matching tie and curls, and the man of the hour, director Whit Stillman—this is his first film since The Last Days of Disco in 1998—played down the buzz by posing only briefly for a group photo. But if anything says a film is one to watch, it’s the arrival of Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz at the premiere. Ebert, who has undergone many serious surgeries for thyroid cancer over the past decade, seemed in good spirits, smiling for photographers, who for once didn’t yell for eye contact, but rather whispered hushed thank-yous to the legendary critic.
After the screening, Stillman and the cast mounted the stage to answer questions from a supportive if slightly bewildered audience. When asked why he chose to make a picture about a troupe of misguided misfits at a private liberal arts college, a wry Stillman replied, “because someone would finance it.” MacLemore and Gerwig explained the particular rules of working on a Stillman film (“Walk Slower. Talk Faster. No Touching”), and all the actors commented on the challenges of learning to speak Stillmanese, which, judging by their speech rhythms onstage, persists for some time afterward. Still, they showed obvious affection for the director (Gerwig even exclaimed “Whit, I love you!”), who seemed to our eyes tense and a little world-weary. By the end of the Q&A, he seemed eager to get offstage, cheekily answering the final query, about his writing process, with: “Can we make this the last question? Actually, can we make the previous question the last question?” To his credit, he went on to give a full answer before thanking everyone and heading out the stage door.