Anticipation was high at the first red carpet of the year at the Toronto International Film Festival. The fans and the press came out in droves to catch the principal cast of Looper, a sci-fi thriller directed by Rian Johnson.
With over two hours before the stars were set to arrive, star watchers were lined up four to five people deep against the barriers set up in David Pecaut Square. All of them were hopeful about getting an autograph or a picture.
"I will ask him to take a photo with me so I can post it on Facebook, that way I can be like 'Woo-hoo, look at me with Bruce Willis!' to all of my friends," said a fan who had brought her Armaggedon Blu-Ray disc to get signed by the action star.
A little ways down three young women sat on the ground, working on posters to flash at heartthrob and lead actor in Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
"He's sooo cute," squealed one of them.
"I just saw him in Premium Rush and he was hot," said her friend. (As if the matter needed to be substantiated.)
But the girls were probably out of luck since Gordon-Levitt arrived to the carpet with little time to greet fans or speak to the media. Instead he was rushed into the theatre by a group of handlers.
He wasn't the only star in a hurry. Moments before Emily Blunt nearly ran passed reporters, a red-carpet organizer announced that we'd have to huddle together into small groups for our questions. Less than a minute later, the same organizer was barricading the velvet rope and Blunt strode off the carpet without answering any of the media's hopeless shouts. So much for the mini-scrums idea.
At that point it was like a stampede. Gordon-Levitt was whisked by, hidden behind handlers. One French reporter started yelling at him in French and he smiled and said, "bonjour." Then the velvet rope toppled over and he was gone. A giant groan erupted from the media pen.
(After all the stars entered Roy Thomson Hall, many of these groaners grumbled to each other about the fact that we had been waiting – cramped no less – for nearly two hours just so that the lead actor could rush by us.)
But not all of the celebs were so hasty – Willis did stop to talk about how deep the film is.
"It's very emotional. Far more emotional than it is science fiction," he said. "It's really about romance."
And violence. The trailer alone shows a gun-slung Gordon-Levitt and a gold-brick-tossing Willis. And the excitement of the action is what director Rian Johnson hopes movie-goers will enjoy.
"I hope they have a blast watching it," he said. "[Any other message they take away] is just gravy."