Sometimes, in the dying days of TIFF—once the stargazing mobs have quieted down and the international press has gone home—you’re handed a present. You show up to a red carpet with three sizable stars, the kind that would have been a zoo on day three or four, and you’re plunked at the front of the rug with just a few other media outlets. Instead of breeze-bys, unruly scrums and publicists yelling “just one question,” you get face time with everyone.
Such was the scene on Thursday at the world premiere of Tom McCarthy’s The Cobbler, a comedy-drama following Adam Sandler’s character, the titular shoemaker, who discovers, by the power of a very special heirloom, the ability to literally walk a mile in another man’s shoes. With the carpet beneath his Adidas-shod feet, Sandler said that he wouldn’t mind swapping places with hometown basketball star Andrew Wiggins. “A Canadian fella, excellent at hoop, baffling all of Canada, smooth, quick, young, happy—yeah, that’d be fun.” Costar Ellen Barkin beamed about good times on set, especially her scenes with Clifford Smith, a.k.a. Method Man. “I’ve been star-struck twice in my life,” said the 60-year-old screen vet, “the first time was Paul Newman, the second was Clifford.” (Barkin’s parting words for us: a totally natural and well-oiled “Dolla’, dolla’ bill, y’all.”)
Method Man, who met director McCarthy on the set of The Wire—arguably also a story about walking in another’s shoes—says even though he’s been acting for nearly 20 years, he still feels green. “I still get butterflies,” he said—which sounds pretty cute from the guy who once, in song, threatened, “I’ll fucking pull your fucking tongue out your fucking mouth and stab the shit with a rusty screwdriver.”