At the Q and A after the world premiere of Everything Must Go (from left to right) Rebecca Hall (I swear I am not following her around on purpose), Writer/director Dan Rush, and Will Ferrell
Although most of the big films come to Toronto with distribution, there are a handful of films with prominent directors or actors still looking for a way to get to a theater near you (or at least a theater in New York and LA.) There are documentaries by Fresh Air favorite Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D), and Errol Morris (Tabloid) — as well as new films from Robert Redford (The Conspirator), John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole), and artist/director Mike Mills (Beginners.) There’s also the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and Passion Play, starring Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox and Bill Murray. Rourke and Fox fall in love at the circus; is it a quirky odd film that works or a car crash? I guess distributors contemplated this during the premiere Friday tonight.
Another film premiering Friday night was Everything Must Go. Based on a Raymond Carver short story, this first film by writer/director Dan Rush follows alcoholic Nicolas Halsey (Will Ferrell) on possibly the worst day of his life. After being fired from the sales job he has had for over a decade, he comes home to find his wife had not only left him — but she locked the house doors and littered all of his belonging on the front lawn. He spends the next few days sitting and sleeping in front of his house on his La-Z-Boy, drinking beers, and going through his stuff and consequently going over his life. He looks through yearbooks, plays his records, and watches old home movies projected on his garage door. Rebecca Hall plays a sympathetic pregnant neighbor, and Christopher C.J. Wallace, the son of Notorious BIG and Faith Evans (!), plays a neighborhood boy who helps Nick sell all of his stuff.
We all know that Ferrell doesn’t do many films that aren’t comedies (there was Stranger Than Fiction which premiered here four years ago). During the Q & A tonight he shared that it’s not because of lack of interest; he just doesn’t get offered those scripts. Although Everything Must Go was at times very funny, it was also quite quietly moving.
At festival’s end, a lot of these unattached films will probably still be up for grabs. I am wondering though if Everything Must Go might not be one of them. In the back of the theater, I spied Adam Yauch, Beastie Boy and founder of Oscilloscope, distributor of films such as The Messenger, Wendy and Lucy, and the upcoming Howl. Is he in a buying mood? Maybe we will find out in the next day or two.