He may have cancelled the apocalypse with his swagger in this summer’s Pacific Rim, but last night at Roy Thomson Hall it was a sensitive Idris Elba who struggled to hold back tears as his fans serenaded him with an impromptu Happy Birthday at the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Elba, by the far the actor who has generated the most man-crushing, at least among the men working with me during our live broadcast from the red carpet into the theatre, turned 41 on Friday and was still emotional when he stopped to talk to me about the experience of playing Nelson Mandela in a performance that’s been approved by the Mandela family and is already generating Oscar buzz.
Elba wore his soft side in style, playing for the camera with a slow motion stagger-step to reveal a pair of badass pair leather kicks, telling me he had to bust out the “red bottoms” for the occasion. And his cool factor was exponentially increased when NBA star Carmelo Anthony, with wife La La, rolled up to the event, surprise last-minute additions to the guest list, just before the screening. When I asked them why they were in Toronto, the Anthonys replied, “Two words: Idris. Elba.”
The way to Tom Hiddleston’s heart? Cookies. Near the end of a long day of press on Saturday at the Intercontinental Hotel on Front Street, Hiddleston had a large platter of freshly baked giant cookies delivered to the etalk lounge and piled five of them onto a napkin as soon as he exited the interview room. Remember in The Avengers when the devilishly charming Loki thinks he’s outsmarted Captain America and company? Same face.
Keira Knightley knows her Hanson. At the premiere of Can a Song Save Your Life? last night at the Princess of Wales theatre, Knightley was asked by etalk’s Jessi Cruickshank to Name That Tune. She correctly guessed MMMBop, but co-star Adam Levine, unimpressed by Cruickshank’s warbling during Boyz II Men’s I’ll Make Love to You, likening it to choking, suggested that the song should be accompanied by pelvis thrusting, and then proceeded to throw down an impromptu demonstration.
Levine kept his pelvis thrusts to himself at the after-party later on at Patria restaurant, where I saw him huddled with Harvey Weinstein in the VIP section. Knightley had already arrived, stopping briefly to talk to reporters outside the restaurant before rushing in for a cocktail. Her drink of choice: a Grey Goose Canadian Crush.
Over at the Fox Searchlight party, during a brief break from being being swarmed by girls, Girls star Adam Driver had a smoke with Paul Giamatti on the patio. As they waited patiently for him to finish, Driver’s admirers were overheard gushing that “he’s waaaaaaay hotter in person”.
Jesse Eisenberg in person is just as dry and quick-witted as expected. I spoke to Eisenberg at the premiere of The Double at the Winter Garden Theatre. He plays a man who discovers his doppelganger. When I asked Eisenberg if he had a celebrity doppelganger, after sharing that mine is an 80s-era Connie Chung, he quipped that I was probably closer to the 90s version. Did Jesse Eisenberg just call me old?!
Elaine Lui is the scribe of the celebrity gossip blog LaineyGossip.com, and is also a reporter for CTV’s etalk, and a co-host of CTV’s new daily talk show The Social.