TIFF: Patricia Clarkson’s one-two Toronto punch

At Chateau Marmont on July 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
At Chateau Marmont on July 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

If you don’t happen to see actress Patricia Clarkson while she’s in town for the Toronto International Film Festival, don’t take it personally. The TIFF vet returns this year with two films, the dark thriller “October Gale” — re-teaming her with “Cairo Time” director Ruba Nadda — and the eight-years-in-the-making drama “Learning to Drive,” co-starring Ben Kingsley. Clarkson has a packed schedule, but don’t worry, she’s taken her vitamins.

You’ve been trying to get “Learning to Drive” made for eight years. What finally helped it all come together?

Films have just a certain life, and this film just for many reasons was difficult. It was just a difficult journey to get it made because it stars me and we had to have an Indian co-star. It was finding the right director, making all the elements come together with financing. The Ruba Nadda movie was easier. (laughs)

Comparing the two, they must seem like much different experiences.

Very. They’re radically different characters — very different women and very different life paths. It’s also kind of magnificent to be returning to Toronto with two female directors, which is rare. There are so few women working in film, sadly, as directors. So for me to be at this festival with two female directors, I feel very honored.

The imbalance in representation is still rather startling.

Oh, it’s staggering, it’s staggering. People are always like, “How are you continuing to work in film?” You know, I’m 54 years old. I say you just have to keep plugging away. You have to just remember that there will be jobs. Somebody will make a movie starring a woman in her 50s. And they do — eventually. (laughs)

So with two big films at TIFF, no pressure on you, right?

No, I know. It’s staggering. I mean, it’s going to be a lot of people laughing or a lot of people really quiet on “Learning to Drive.”


What does Toronto represent to you as a festival?

I have to say, I was over the moon — thrilled — when I found out these movies were going to both be in Toronto. What a gift! First of all, it has the best audiences you could ever hope for. It’s just a town of cinephiles. It’s people who really love cinema. They love going to the theater, they’re incredibly appreciative, nobody’s going to throw anything at you. (laughs) At Cannes, you never know.

Are you going to have any time to yourself while you’re there?

No. (laughs) I just got my schedule, the itinerary. I get in Saturday and hit the pavement. I’m starting some kind of injection today. I need B12. (laughs) No, I’m just going to rest up and take very good cared of myself before I take off for Toronto and have lots of nice — really, hopefully — sexy dresses.

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick


Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."


Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.


Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.


Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…


FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.


'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…


TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.


5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.


College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.


Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.


London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.


Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."