Hoffman gets cozy with Sarandon
The stars of Brad Silberling's Moonlight Mile are in a rip-roaring mood at the Toronto festival
Arthur J Pais in Toronto
Did you just pinch my ass?" asks Susan Sarandon urgently, looking sexy despite her 55 years.
The young actor Jake Gyllenhall, sitting next to her, is confused. But some of us in the press conference room know just who the bottom-pincher is. Worse, he is enjoying the act.
Dustin Hoffman, 65, is never this playful. But today, he is a great mood. He has not only pinched his co-star's rear, he is also trying to keep his head on her lap.
Hoffman and Sarandon, who have worked together for the first time in Moonlight Mile, play a couple that has to face enormous odds following a death in the family.
Perhaps he is so playful today because he wants to get the film's intense moments out of his system. He has been talking about the film for weeks, doing interviews and attending junkets. He now wants us to believe that Sarandon is a nymphomaniac.
He ogles at her ample cleavage. She rises to the bait. "Dustin is very obsessive, very sexy, very cuddly," she purrs, giving us an Oscar-worthy performance, free. "I felt at home the moment we got together. We plan to now only work with each other."
The film, which will open across America at the end of September, tells the story of a young man whose fiancιe is killed by a rapist a few days before the wedding. The young man (Gyllenhall) comes closer to her parents and the newly formed family grieves and heals itself. The semi-autobiographical story is that of writer-director Brad Silberling.
Studios had rejected the project for many years thinking it too grim, till Disney came forward to produce it at a modest budget of $50 million, with the stars taking hefty cuts in their fees.
Ashok Amritraj is one of the executive producers. A veteran of two decades of film production in Hollywood, Amritraj is well known for his frugality and ability to complete films within a given budget.
Hoffman, who plans to direct a film for Amritraj, says Moonlight Mile belongs to the golden era of filmmaking in Hollywood, the kind of classics it made 40 or 50 years ago. This is not a "McDonald's era movie," he asserts. "There is a climate now that in their marketing, they appeal to your derivative impulses," he explains. "They make you feel that you have seen it before in order to make you want to see it. But you haven't seen this before."
His co-star watches Hoffman with admiration, lapping up each word. "Now you see why our marriage works," quips Sarandon, whose relationship with actor Tim Robbins for nearly two decades is the envy of Hollywood, with mischief in her eyes and voice. "Isn't he brilliant?"
By now Hoffman is in a manic mood that would give funnyman Robin Williams an inferiority complex: "Our marriage works because she is sexually insatiable!"