Toronto Notebook: George Clooney's Rectal Exam on Facebook?

Intrusive press coverage goes to the next level at the Toronto Film Fest

By James Rocchi Sep 13, 2009 3:27 PMTags
George ClooneyPeter Bregg/Getty Images

The first weekend of the Toronto Film Fest is always a whirl. Because many press take the back end of the festival off, the first weekend is loaded with TV junkets, interviews and high-wattage bashes. True to form on Saturday night, events pulled potential attendees in several different directions.

After the black-tie gala premiere of Get Low, where Bill Murray, Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek earned a standing ovation for their story of redemption and salvation in 1930s America, the afterparty moved down King Street. The tight-packed crowd included Terry Gilliam, here in Toronto with Heath Ledger's last film, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus—which earned mixed reviews after its press screening today.

Down the block, a super-secret dinner was taking place for a few carefully selected press and the cast and crew of Up in the Air, the George Clooney comedy-drama that's been earning raves here in Toronto...

The heavy-hitter guest list made it an exclusive affair, but earlier in the day I talked with the film's director, Jason Reitman, who's here with Clooney promoting Up in the Air and also making the rounds as a producer with Megan Fox's magnum opus, Jennifer's Body.

Reitman talked about how dodging paparazzi makes his stars' lives—and his—far more complicated than need be. "I've seen it on the set of both films, and it's infuriating. As an actor, you give up your life to a certain extent, but you shouldn't have to give it up that much. I'm not talking about a red carpet. On a red carpet, you're there to get your photo taken. But the extent to which those actors have had to hide their lives, and how much they've had to give up in their lives is too much. It's inappropriate. It's wrong."

Speaking of inappropriate, Clooney may have gotten off the line of the weekend earlier in the afternoon when he shot down any idea that he was going to become more accessible or approachable through high technology, declaring at the Up in the Air press conference, "I'd rather have a rectal examination on live TV by a fellow with cold hands than have a Facebook page…"

Finishing off the night's festivities was the uptown party for the new Coen Brothers film, A Serious Man—described by one press wag as "a movie so Jewish it makes Yentl look like Ordinary People." The menu was appropriately themed, with gefilte fish, mini-latkes and bagels with lox among the hors d'oeuvres. While Tate Donovan and Serious costar Richard Kind worked the room, codirector Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen held court in the back of the room and savored the raves the film has earned.

We'll have plenty more this week from the Toronto Film Fest, so keep reading E! Online and following @redcarpet on Twitter.

Get hot Megan Fox scoop, pix and more in our report from the Jennifer's Body premiere in Toronto.