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The most wonderful time of year is upon us: There are finally new IKEA catalogues. But on top of that, the Toronto International Film Festival will start soon. And its siren-song will deliver the revelation that, for 10 glorious days, you can (and will) mingle with Hollywood’s best and brightest. Which brings us to why we’re all here. In the spirit of tradition and great conversation starters, I’ve got your 2019 guide to making conversation with famous faces. You don’t know them, they don’t know you, but if you play by my rules I can promise that they will never, ever forget you. As hard as they may try.

TIFF 2019: Updated – The Globe’s latest ratings and reviews of movies screening at the festival

Tom Hanks

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Joel C Ryan/The Associated Press

You see him standing on the other side of the room. He feels your eyes on him and offers a polite smile before returning to his conversation. But you keep staring, and he looks back your way. His anxiety is now palpable, much like your determination. You don’t blink as you mouth out the words, “Don’t you dare change.” And he won’t. Because he’s Tom Hanks.

Jennifer Lopez

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Do not mention A-Rod. Do not mention A-Rod. Do not mention A-Rod. Not even when J-Lo asks why you’ve been whispering this phrase to yourself the entire time you’ve been on the same elevator.

Brie Larson

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Knowing you’re clearly destined to be best friends, you vow to pledge your allegiance to Captain Marvel. So immediately following the screening of Just Mercy, you wait for the Q&A and, as questions begin, you stand up on your chair and cry: “Oh Captain, my Captain!” Tears stream down her cheeks as she looks upon the face of true friendship.

Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins

You approach the Two Popes and ask simply: “Which one of you is the young pope?” They laugh loudly while praising your astounding wit. It is then you realize that it is not the time to ask which one of them is Jude Law.

Joe Alwyn

“So,” you say over a tray of canapés. “Which one of Taylor’s songs are about you?” He sighs, and then tells you everything because you were direct and, more importantly, because there are still many cheese puffs.


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Richard Shotwell/Invision / The Associated Press

While Lizzo enjoys the Hustlers after-party, you make a beeline for the singer and hand her a flute. “Show me how,” you request, your head bowed out of respect. She says nothing until you look back up: “Friend,” she says. “You already know.” You begin to play perfectly as partygoers weep at your bit from The Magic Flute. Lizzo begins improvising harmonies that make Mozart himself feel inadequate. Nothing will ever be the same.

Taika Waititi

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“Taika!” you yell, standing across the street of the Jojo Rabbit screening. “Do you want to hang out?” The director cups his hands and shouts in your direction: “Yes!” So, after the screening, that’s exactly what you do. Because that’s the kind of person Taika Waititi seems like.

Daniel Craig

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Leo Hudson/The Associated Press

Finding yourself in a surprise conversation with the Knives Out star, you quickly opt to make an unforgettable impression: while talking about life and work and weather, you do not ask about or mention James Bond; a phenomenon that Daniel Craig hasn’t experienced in years, and one that reminds him that – eventually – freedom awaits.

Joaquin Phoenix

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As you’re waiting in line for the bathroom, a serious Joaquin Phoenix approaches to ask who you think is the best Joker of all time. Knowing he’ll call you out for even a hint of dishonesty, you gently place your hands on his shoulders and tell him what he already knows: Jim Carrey in The Mask. He begins walking away, and then turns around. “Somebody stop me,” he says, knowing no other performance in history has ever been so cartoonish or so frightening. Out of eyeshot, Jared Leto lingers, vowing to make the night get twisted.

Meryl Streep

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In town for The Laundromat, Meryl Streep stands surrounded by admirers and kindly pays them all attention. Unfortunately for them, your own time is precious, so you do what any real Meryl fan would: you scream like Mary Louise Wright in Big Little Lies before delivering the cerulean monologue from The Devil Wears Prada – flawlessly. And as everyone looks on in confusion, you make eye contact with Meryl, who’s completely in awe. She smiles before transforming herself into a pigeon and making her way to the hotel anonymously.

The 44th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 5-15 (

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