Culture Swellness: 6 things I learned at the Grey Goose Cocktails & Conversations with The Current War’s Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult

Grey Goose Cocktails & Conversation with the cast of 'The Current War' at Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada - 10 September 2017

I don’t cover the entertainment beat, so for me TIFF usually involves just a few parties, maybe one or two screenings. This year I haven’t seen any movies yet, but I did get to meet Charlie Hunnam at his pre-premiere Grey Goose party for his movie Papillon at STK. I’m a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy so this was very exciting, so exciting that even though Charlie was pretty accessible, all I could utter was asking if we could take a photo. He was really gracious with everyone and took plenty of photos.

069 Photagonist.ca (September 07, 2017 _TF10359)


Photo credit: @photagonist

I also was lucky enough to attend the Grey Goose Cocktails & Conversations panel held on the Lavelle rooftop with the screenwriter, director and cast of The Current War. It was a intimate group (maybe about 20 of us), and it was really interesting to see how the actors all handled the sometimes convoluted questions thrown at them, and fun to drink Bloody Marys “with” Cumberbatch (he downed his first one pretty quickly and was promptly served another). In any case, here are six things I learned at this brunch.

The Current War story sounds compelling and I’ll have to go watch it.

“”It’s about a rivalry to electrify the world, but to me it’s about legacy and importance of leaving the world a better place through creativity, innovation and spontaneity, and the wonderful traits these men have and bring to the world and do so fearlessly; that is why I wanted to tell the story,” says director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

Grey Goose Cocktails & Conversation with the cast of 'The Current War' at Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada - 10 September 2017

The stars knew little about this story before the script came along.

Benedict Cumberbatch: “I knew very little about Edison til this project came my way the interesting thing to me was the more I discovered, the stark contrast between this man who promoted himself as part of his product, his branding as well as inventing, researching, developing and manufacturing and who he was underneath that. How he journeyed from his beginnings to a point where he was seemingly a wizard. the king of it all.  And what happens when all that gets threatened how you can lose your integrity and become someone who acts reprehensibly at the time and forget the intention of that work of bettering mankind can be.”

Michael Shannon: “To me Westinghouse was just a name on products things in my house, but I’d never stopped to consider he was an actual person, it seemed like he wanted it that way, didn’t seem like he was ever trying to be glorify himself anyway. He worked hard and tried to make things that would help ppl, so I didn’t know much about him beforehand it was a real pleasure to get to put a face to the name.”

Nicholas Hoult: “I read a book Devil in the White City so I knew a little bit about the World’s Fair and the build up to that but not that much about Tesla so that was one of the great pleasures about doing this was learning about him , what foresight he had how incredible he was in terms of his inventions and imagination but also how selfless he was in terms of giving up to create a better world, but not being able take care of himself, to patent things properly or take care of his health.”

Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty funny.

The discussion had turned to the characters relationships in the movie, and Cumberbatch joked, “Edison was a player, he just couldn’t k– no (laughing). Chris,t I’m on a rooftop in 2017 in Toronto talking about a dead man’s relationship with his wife, I don’t think think that’s right on any level to cast dispersions, he does neglect his family, I feel so awful about doing this, I much prefer to talk about someone who is a good example of marital bliss. It cost him, and he tried to make amends.”

Grey Goose Cocktails & Conversation with the cast of 'The Current War' at Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada - 10 September 2017

The actual science is beyond the actors comprehension, but everyone seemed to agree Nicholas fared best at understanding it.

When asked by a physicist at the panel whether they’d prepared for their roles by delving into the science, Benedict replied,

“I have to confess not, as an actor I cannot begin to, I cannot lay claim to the complexities of your profession, your world, your expertise. It is a cipher for which the human interaction plays out, not to belittle it in the importance of the story. My understanding as a simple layman, it goes beyond my comprehension, I was really bad at physics in school, circuit boards used to just make me freak out and the only thing I liked doing was drawing them but I always made the switches in the wrong place and none of my LEDs would ever light up when I made a circuit in physics class, But I have a profound respect for the men and women in that field and the field we were portraying so I did try my best …to try to have a layman’s understanding of it. Did I understand why he’d hold onto DC when AC was clearly the better option? That to me seemed to be more of a human blunder than a scientific one, the power that can be applied; a human flaw more than a scientific one.”

As for Hoult, “I understood everything and I think that shines through in my performance,” he bragged, jokingly. “We had a science lesson this guy came in trying to teach us this stuff and that got me more into a tizzy than I was to begin with and I was trying to understand it but was, oh boy, but that just spiralled into more and more questions.”

Cumberbatch then gave him props, though. “You were pretty good though, you did kinda get what he was on about, I was lost at page one bit you stuck with it.”

For Hoult, he was very intrigued by Tesla. “The thing that was remarking about Tesla,he could create these things in his mind without building models, he could run them in his imagination and then fix problems through that as well, and you could see why people of the time we be like dude you’re insane, that’s not possible, it was so remarkable.”

The actors loved the costumes and were fine with being less than handsome for their roles.

“I loved being ugly in this film,” said Cumberbatch, referring to a scene where he’s fixing his hair in the movie. “Like you do when you’re 41 and going oh fuck what should I do with that bit of receding hair, should I just scrape it over, that’s very human like that I like that too, he doesn’t always shave, who does? I know what you mean it’s not about presenting a more perfect vision of yourself about trying to be who he was in the moment, he hated dressing up, Edison, in all honesty, jokes aside, he did hate the parade of fashionable dressing up, big money and occasions and panopoly of social mores, airs and graces and figures of authority.”

Cumberbatch feels there’s a long way to go for his industry to becoming more environmentally friendly (when asked a question about the energy crisis).

“And as far as energy goes, I feel deeply hypocritical…being flown here to talk to you on a lovely rooftop here in the sun’s heat that’s prop as hot as it is this time of year because of the fumes shooting out of the plane I was on, to put a finer point on it, but you know, it’s hard to talk about environmental concerns when in our industry, we have a great ways to go. But you need light to rellect through lens onto films or sensors these days, and light often isn’t available from nature at the time you need it and you need light for stories like this about electricity; and there’s a ways to go recycling on set, transporting people on sets, electric vehicles should be mandatory, to be a bit authoritarian about it, it gets you there, charge it when at work, don’t get why we don’t all do that on film sets, probably the cost of the hardware at the moment…and yeah and recycle, I don’t know what else to say,” he replied. “I try to wear clothes more than once!” he added in jest.

And with that, our brunch panel with The Current War cast ended, but not before I took a photo with Hoult.

Nicholas Hoult Sept 2017

The Current War hits theatres in November 24th.

Leave a Comment September 13, 2017

Beauty Swellness: L’Oréal Collection Privée by Colour Riche

Freida Pinto L'Oreal Paris

The Toronto International Film Festival is still going on here in the T-dot, and so far, not only did I get to see Taylor Kitsch at the gala screening of The Grand Seduction, I also got to meet the lovely and gorgeous Freida Pinto at a L’Oréal cocktail event the other night.

Loreal Collection Privee

Which reminded me that it was Freida’s nail polish from the L’Oréal Collection Privée by Colour Riche that their nail expert, Tom Bachik, suggested would suit me best from this limited edition collection.

As the official beauty sponsor of TIFF, L’Oréal has just this month released a collection of nude lipsticks and corresponding nail polishes ($10.99 and $3.99 respectively) personalized for L’Oréal’s spokesmodels. In Canada, we have Freida Pinto, Doutzen Kroes, Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria — and they range from Eva’s Nude, which is warm with a hint of peach, to pale pink (Doutzen’s Nude).

Loreal Collection Privee lipsticks

I’m personally gravitating towards JLo’s shades and must test them all out, but yes, Tom was right: Freida’s polish does suit my current tan skintone (for the record, I don’t tan on purpose–marathon training and travel has me in the sun a lot, and I always have SPF on). You can see my nails (and a photo of me with Freida and the lovely Michelle of Beauty Editor) over on Instagram (where you can find me under @healthandswellness! Follow me if you don’t mind photos of food, cats, occasional selfies, and running. Oh, and shoes, I do love shoes!).

Which nude from Collection Privée appeals to you most?

Leave a Comment September 12, 2013

TIFF Swellness: TIFF lounge gifties

Taylor Kitsch_The Grand Seduction

The Toronto International Film Festival has taken over the city. It kicked off on the 5th and it runs until the 15th and the city is in a state of cray cray. Crowds of stargazers lining the streets, paparazzi parked outside of hotels, and so many movie screenings and parties every night, and so many A-list celebs in the city: Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen, Adam Levine, Zac Efron, Mark Wahlberg, Keanu Reeves, Taylor Kitsch–it’s like a laundry list of all of my star crushes! (I actually got to attend the gala screening of The Grand Seduction the other night–thanks Metro Ontario–and Mr. Kitsch aka Tim Riggins is great in this charming movie, and looks even greater in person, amirite?

Anyhow, on top of all of the movies and parties, let’s not forget the gifting lounges. You know, where the celebrities get to go and pick up gifts–it’s a chance for brands to get their products into the precious hands of celebs.

If you want to know what exactly are the celebs getting at the lounges, well, here’s the scoop on three of the lounges I had a chance to check out last week.

photo 3

First, the IT Lounge by NKPR. Hello, carbs, beauty and fashion! Namely Avon makeup, Tweezerman tools (including a complimentary brow touch up), Roots Canada, Uber (the car service), cute socks from YoSox, Barilla pasta, Colgate toothpaste, sweet treats from PS by Pretty Sweet, LOL Candy and Cold Stone Creamery and hydration from David’s Tea, Bottle Green, Aqua Hydrate and Skyy Vodka (I got the chance to sip the signature Skyy Vodka cocktails a couple of weeks ago at the Skyy Vodka Cocktail Countdown — my favourite is the Spicy Scarlett).

photo 2 (2)

Next, I headed to the Essentials Lounge, which is actually designed for media working the long days and nights of TIFF. It’s put on by Esther Garnick PR and lucky media peeps scored two cleverly themed bags, one filled with TIFF survival goodies and the other with recovery supplies. While there, I received lash extensions from Winks Eyelash Boutique and my hair was styled by Aveda, and I was sent home with my loot than at Christmas: Ethical Bean Coffee, Calvin Klein Underwear. TeAlchemy, Be Better lip balm, Centrum vitamins, Tums, Sensodyne toothpaste, Dial bodywash, Elizabeth Grant products, Elastoplast heel savers, Hard Candy makeup and apparel, Sorel slippers, Micro Pedi foot-smoothing tool, Vitaminwater, Soap & Glory facial cloths, Aveda products, Creeds dry cleaning giftcard, Moksha Yoga yoga class pass, Viviscal supplements, Guru Athletics towel, Nike Fuelband, and an HP Slate 7. (Yes, an HP tablet — I told you it was like Christmas morning!)

I know, kinda crazy right?

photo 1 (2)

Finally, over at the BaskIt Style lounge? Well, first off I was whisked to the $8 million condo suite where the lounge was set up in a sleek Mercedes  (courtesy of Unlimited Personal Services, a global concierge service), and once I got there, more of a whirlwind of gifts: All But Gluten baked goods, Mary Kay cosmetics (where I got to chat with the lovely makeup artist Diana Carreiro), Kiss and Broadway Nails, O.N.E. Coconut Water, Green & Blacks chocolate, Wolf Blass wine, Louianna organic olive oil, Thinking of You perfume, Sarah Mulder jewelry, Fuck Cancer, some books (it was so nice to meet authors Craig Davidson, Peggy Kotsopoulos and Adrienne Kress) and Killigrew tshirts.

Seems pretty sweet to be a celeb, eh? Getting showered with gifts and all. And that’s not even all of the TIFF lounges, just the three I managed to visit.

Wish you could visit a TIFF gifting lounge? Well, I have it from good authority (myself!) that Health & Swellness will be holding a giveaway of one of the very coveted items from one of the lounges! Check back to find out what the giveaway is and be sure to enter!





2 Comments September 10, 2013

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