Dignity helps when trying to party with Nicolas Cage, Fergie and Keanu at the InStyle bash

Dignity helps when trying to party with Nicolas Cage, Fergie and Keanu at the InStyle bash

British actor Bill Nighy is mobbed by fans with poor taste in hats outside the Windsor Arms last night (Photo by Jen McNeely) 

“We want the king, we want the king!”

At first we couldn’t decipher what the overzealous crowd was chanting, but as we drew closer to the masses outside the Windsor Arms, it became clear that it was not the king they wanted but the Cage. Nicolas, that is. The mob was gaining momentum and force, so when British actor Bill Nighy exited the hotel, an emergency PR situation dominoed: fans surged forward, magazines slapped magazines at Nighy and women on walkie-talkies were frantically trying to locate his driver. Cops had to buffer the mania so Nighy could escape. As he wandered in the direction of Theatre Books, all we could hear him say was “Where the fuck? What the fuck? Fuck!” An intense female wrangler yelled, “Bill—back inside!” She shouted louder, “Bill! Inside, let’s go!” ushering him in haste back in the embrace of the Windsor Arms. By the urgency in her tone, we thought the fans were about ready to rip his flesh off, like a scene from Shaun of the Dead.

We saw all of this go down as were still circling the joint like losers, trying to figure a way in. In a dark corner by the hotel air vents we approached a caterer who was taking a smoke break:

“Hey there.”
“You a chef or something?”
”We need to get into this party. Do you think you could sneak us through the back door?”
”No. There’s security.”
“OK, have a nice night.”

Pathetic? Yes. But perhaps just as extreme as the Toronto Star’s method of access from 2008, when they had a writer pose as an actor, an actor as a publicist and basically faked fame.

Anyway, we were starting to enjoy the challenge and stalked the place like a bank robber. At one point a security man had left his post but it would have meant bolting through and possible humiliating consequences. It seemed impenetrable but then we saw an out-of-place gentleman lurking in the shadows, smoking something that didn’t smell like a cigarette. We positioned ourselves to sit on a bench in front of him and made a sad face. Magically, within a couple minutes, we had an invisible stamp on our hand and were walking down the red carpet into the Windsor Arms.

Once in, we kept company with Can-con cutie-pie Kristin Booth, who has two films in the festival this year (Defendor and Crackie), who had to turn to us twice to remark, “You are on me.” We had accidentally stepped on the train of her dress. This happened again later when we jammed our heels on Sarah Ferguson’s dress but she had a special guard to tell people to get off; guess walking in step is not our forte.

Keanu Reeves and Harvey Weinstein hung out on the patio, smoking. Cage, away from the screaming fans (why him, we still aren’t sure) had found a safe haven in the piano bar. All young women were especially enamoured with strong and sexy Eve, but it was Fergie, Duchess of York, who trumped all in the “oh-my-god” category. Apparently, Colin Firth was there, too, but we didn’t spot the dapper Mr. Darcy.

The most fun at the InStyle party was watching Little Mosque on the Prairie’s lead star Aamar Rashid battle it out with Shinan Govani over how to most authentically pronounce the word “Google” with an Indian accent. That in itself was worth the tactics we used to sneak in to one of TIFF’s hottest parties.