The Stars of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival

Diane Kruger

See photographer Caitlin Cronenberg’s portraits of the actors, actresses, and filmmakers to know—and hear what they have to say.

Photos taken in Nkpr’s IT Lounge Portrait Studio at TIFF’s Bell Lightbox. A donation is made to director Paul Haggis’s Artists for Peace and Justice for every celebrity who visits the studio.


Natalie Portman, director-writer-actress (“A Tale of Love and Darkness”) On her feature debut as writer-director and star: “You’ve got to take credit for all of it. You can’t do it without your cast and crew, but it’s your vision. There’s no, ‘Oh it’s the director’s fault.’ You are the one to blame. But it’s also wonderful, because you get to shape your vision.”


Elizabeth Olsen, actress (“I Saw the Light”) On playing Hank Williams’s wife, Audrey Mae: “Nobody has very nice things to say about her. She was untalented and wanted to be a star, so there were a lot of reasons to have an issue with her personality. But at the same time, she was dealing with an alcoholic husband who was never home, so you end up having compassion and empathy for her. I just tried to be her lawyer—to, you know, defend her.”


Donald Glover, actor (“The Martian”) “I really like science. Like anyone else who’s a millennial, I like Neil DeGrasse Tyson. And Bill Nye’s really cool, but I didn’t know I’d have to know a lot of science and I definitely didn’t know I’d have to know a lot of math. I am not good at math. I hope it doesn’t show.”


Sarah Gadon, actress On introducing Natalie Portman at the annual TIFF kickoff soiree: “She is such a huge talent, but she’s also kind of accessible at a stoner-chic level.”


Zoe Kazan, actress (“Our Brand is Crisis”) “I play a political consultant, who’s brought in by Jane Bodine, Sandra Bullock’s character, as her secret weapon. I basically dig up dirt. She’s a very mysterious character, she’s very unknowable, and she’s also the only Spanish speaker on the team. I grew up speaking Spanish, so I got to make use of that.”


Jeff Daniels, actor (“The Martian”) “I wouldn’t say I could fly a shuttle, but I know what one looks like.”


Scoot McNairy, actor (“Our Brand Is Crisis”) “I cold-called director David Gordon Green a year and a half ago and said, ‘I’m a big fan and I really want to work with you.’ Sure enough he calls me about a year later. I was really quick to jump at working with him. He’s really, really funny and really, really odd. And he’s all about having a good time.”


Chiwetel Ejiofor, actor (“The Martian”) “I spoke to people from the European space agency to talk about not only the technical aspects but also the emotional and intellectual ways they would approach problem-solving … I was fascinated by how all of the different groups communicate and the emotional intelligence these guys have.”


Dean Norris, actor (“Remember”) “It was really, truly an honor to get to work with Christopher Plummer.”


Sebastian Stan, actor (“The Martian).


Naomi Watts, actress (“Demolition).


The cast of “Mustang.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Barkhad Abdi, actor (“Eye in the Sky”) “In ‘Captain Phillips,’ I had a bigger part, so I showed more. This one, not as much, but it feels good enough.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Carmen Ejogo, actress (“Born to be Blue”) On playing the jazz musician Chet Baker’s romantic partner: “My first introduction to Chet Baker was this photograph taken by William Claxton in the 50s that I fell in love. It was a portrait of Chet with Halema, this part-Indian beauty who was sort of leaned up on his lap. I was just mesmerized by this combination of people.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Connor Jessup, director (“Boy”)

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Francesca Eastwood, actress (“Heroes Reborn”)

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Geoffrey Rush, actor (“The Daughter”) “I’ve now entered my 60s and it has hit me that there’s a whole other bunch of characters I can play. I’m working with people who are five decades younger than me. I would never in a million years have thought I should be the patriarch in a Henrik Ibsen-derived movie. I can go there now.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Jack Kilmer, actor (“Len and Company”) “I’m obsessed with home recording. I have many, many songs on which I’m playing all the instruments—drums, guitar and bass—and I run it into an 8-track. It’s a high output of music. It’s quantity over quality, probably.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Keir Gilchrist, actor (“Len and Company”) “My interest in film and music are about equal. I have a grindcore band that I do vocals for called Whelm. But I’m not interested in mainstream music or big record labels at all. There’s no artist on the radio that I care about, period.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Mackenzie Davis, actress (“The Martian”)

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Michael Pena, actor (“The Martian)

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Michael Shannon, actor (“Freeheld”) On playing the real-life cop Dane Wells, who rallies fellow officers to support his gay colleague’s fight for equal rights: “I went and met Dane, and he’s a very thoughtful, quiet person—a very good person. I thought it would be a challenge, honestly. I thought it would take people by surprise. I’m always hearing a bunch of crap about how I play bad guys.”


Odessa Young, actress (“The Daughter”) “My father was born in Toronto so now I’m bringing him back. It’s a nice homecoming for him. He’s been out roaming the city, reliving his childhood.”


Paul Schneider, actor (“The Daughter”) On co-star Geoffrey Rush: “He is like the father I never had and the one I wasn’t sure I wanted—until I met him. I, like anyone else, wandered into it in awe and came away more in awe in the sense that he was such a good buddy . . .”


Rhys Ifans, actor (“Len and Company”) “When you’re young, you have a very clear idea of what selling out is; and then as you get older, there’s a period where you think you might have sold out according to your youthful principles. Then you sort of settle into that, and you think, I didn’t sell out, I just evolved. And then you evolve further, and you get to my age and you go, You know what, I just fucking sold out. You regress to a second, hardened point like you were when you were sixteen. I’m kind of back there now.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

John Goodman, actor (“Trumbo”) On playing the Hollywood producer Frank King: “I’ve already sucked at playing major figures, so I wasn’t worried about it. If I ever have to do it again, I’m going to take a lot of the pressure off of myself.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Paul Dano, actor (“Youth”) “We were on location in the Alps, all alone, and I was sort of the young buck of the group. Right away Michael Caine and his wife Shakira started taking me out for dinner. They made me feel right at home. That was pretty cool—to get off work and go hang with Michael and his wife.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Rosie Perez, actress (“Dancing With the Devil”) On playing a nurse: “I would like to say that I’m a very empathetic person, and I brought that to the role.”


Madalina Diana Ghenea, actress (“Youth”) “I only started acting four years ago. I’m from Romania, a country where something like this seems impossible. Actually, it all started in Haiti for me. I worked with Artists for Peace and Justice and they started a film institute there. When I met all these talented kids making movies, I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I should give it a try.’”


Waris Ahluwalia, actor (“Beeba Boys”) “I am a gangster … Oh, you mean in this movie? I’m a gangster in life, so I didn’t have to act.”br> Special thanks to Jeff Glaab.


Agyness Deyn, actress (“Sunset Song”) On acting in a period film: “It seems like there’s nothing current about it, except for the fact that it’s about a woman who’s very strong. That it was written so long ago by a man … I found that so interesting.”

Special thanks to Jeff Glaab.


Shohreh Aghdashloo, actress (“Septembers of Shiraz”)

Special thanks to Jeff Glaab.


Clémence Poésy, actress (“The Ones Below”) On playing pregnant: “It was really nice, actually. It means you can eat as much as you want at lunch. You sort of start touching your belly in the way you see pregnant women do it, just because it’s there.”


Paul Haggis, writer-director On his annual APJ Fundraiser at TIFF: “We raised a $1.2 million for the kids in Haiti. Moby was fabulous, Helen Mirren was a real champ, and it was lovely to see Susan Sarandon get her award. Win Butler stood up on a chair and sang a cappella—that was pretty great.”


Sarah Silverman, actress (“I Smile Back”) On her surprisingly serious dramatic turn: “I never make any plans. The opportunity presented itself, and I said yes.”


Cynthia Nixon, actress (“James White”) On director Josh Mond: “I was very taken with the script, but I didn’t know who this guy was and what he was about. I think he wanted to be very careful about his casting, particularly since this was not only his first film but also a very important story for him to tell—a story about his mother and her illness. So we met a few times and talked about the script, our moms, movies we liked and all that kind of stuff. And we got to the tipping point where we felt really comfortable with each other.”


Dev Patel, actor (“The Man Who Knew Infinity”) On playing a mathematician: “It took me 15 minutes yesterday to figure out my tip on the bill, so it’s quite ironic that I’m playing this character.”


Diane Kruger, actress (“Sky, Disorder”) On her beau, Joshua Jackson: “He came in last night. He missed his own premiere—he’s in ‘Sky’—because he was working.”


Jennifer Jason Leigh


Jeremy Irons, actor (“The Man Who Knew Infinity”) On the depiction of genius: “I would say that the great thing is to see that brilliance can come from the most unexpected source.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Josh Mond, director (“James White”) On whether the film is based on his own life: “I did lose my mother to cancer four and a half years ago, and I grew up in New York … so kind of, yes.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Malin Akerman, actress (“The Final Girl”) “As a young girl, I remember a babysitter of mine watching ‘Dracula’. I wasn’t allowed to watch that, but I snuck up anyway. I definitely thought that Dracula was coming to get me. I can’t do horror films—I don’t have the stomach for it.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Nina Dobrev, actress (“The Final Girl”) “I’m convinced both Chuckie and Chuckie’s Bride are out to get me. I literally can’t sleep in a room with dolls. I can’t sleep in a house that has dolls in it. I can’t do it.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Taissa Farmiga, actress (“The Final Girl”) On why Nina Dobrev would be the last woman standing in a real-life serial killer situation: “Because she’s super badass. And she’s just got a strength to her: she’s direct, she makes plans and she just goes with it. You need someone who takes charge.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Tom Noonan, actor (“Anomalisa”) On playing many characters: “I am everyone else in the world, and just trying to get through the night.”

Photographer: Caitlin Cronenberg

Zhao Tao, actress (“Mountains May Depart”) “I believe the last scene, where my character is dancing in the snow, is a very realistic depiction of the future—no matter where we are or what state we’re in, we’re always going to be seeking happiness.”