|Mark Wahlberg & Mr. Will-W.|
It was a star-studded day in Toronto as we were lucky enough to get an official Premiere for heavily Oscar-buzzed The Fighter and stars Mark Wahlberg and Melissa Leo descended upon Yorkville to do a full afternoon of Press. The Biopic about Boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward's rise to fame is receiving accolades galore and just last week the National Board of Review awarded the distinction of Best Supporting Actor to Christian Bale for his portrayal of Boxer Dickie Ecklund, older brother of Ward.
|Melissa Leo & Mr. Will-W.|
I was lucky to spot Leo as she was out on a Cigarette Break outside her Hotel. She plays the domineering Manager/Mother of both Brothers in the Film, Alice Ward, and I got to chat with her quickly about her performance, telling her how I found her outright terrifying. Graciously, she thanked me for the praise and told me "Alice is actually a wonderful Woman and I loved getting to work with her on this Film." Leo was rather surprised that I would even have a Photo for her to sign, but in actuality, I've loved Leo's work of late whether it be her Oscar-nominated performance in Frozen River or her villainous turn in this year's Conviction. "Alright Will, I'm gonna need to borrow your back to sign this Photo so I'm gonna need you to turn around", and she proceeded to sign on my back before confessing that she was actually on a bit of a Secret Break, then rushing back to do some more Press. Amazing.
Before long, I was surprised to see Mark Wahlberg throw a wave over to a growing group of Fans through the door of his Hotel Lobby. He could be seen posing for pictures with his Friend and former Hockey Star Tie Domi. The two pals along with Wahlberg's two-Security Entourage had headed out quickly for a round of Drinks in Yorkville and arrived back on-foot to their Hotel, stopping to do a quick round of Photos and Autographs. "One Photo only please and after this one Photo he will be heading back in. We must get going now!" declared Wahlberg's Security Guard. Nonetheless, Wahlberg proceeded to sign as many Autographs as he could still and posed kindly for Photos with full smile for a few lucky Fans including myself.
I was not surprised by Wahlberg's friendly manner actually as he notoriously is pleasant. He tugged me over for a Photo and personalized an 8x10 for me, "To Will - (heart) Mark Wahlberg". Yes, a heart! His performance in The Fighter is outstanding and he v. quickly is becoming one of my favourite Actors. Boogie Nights, The Departed, The Other Guys and now this latest effort - all important Films. And to think, if you asked me what I thought of him in High School, even then I didn't pay much respect to him in his previous life as a novelty Rapper. Times have changed.
Soon after glamming-up in a Suit, he boarded his Escalade to tonight's Premiere at Scotiabank Theatre for The Fighter where there was mass pandemonium with hoards of Fans clawing their way to Wahlberg while he made his way through the Press Line. As expected though, he was absolutely wonderful, accommodating as many of his admirers as possible. Tickets exceeded capacity for the Screening, with one Reader Jason reporting that at least 40 Fans were left waiting in a Rush Line to see the Film on the off-chance seats became available.
And guess what? I've got a little something for you, Mavenati! You can win a signed 4x6 Official The Fighter Premiere Invite from Wahlberg right here. To qualify for the win, please leave a Comment below indicating the name of The Fighter's Canadian distributor before January 1, 2011 midnight. A winner will be drawn at random. Only entry per person, please and please make sure I can reach you back somehow. Good luck!
Need a hint? Read my review of The Fighter here. Canadians can see the Film next week in select cities.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)