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So what's really going on in Charlize Theron's head when, at a press conference for Sleepwalking, she riffs off a running joke about mishearing "Regina" (as in Regina, Sask., where some of the filming took place) as "vagina." Everyone laughs, and the room erupts with a battalion of camera shutters firing in her direction. She looks at the photographers tiredly. Apparently, Theron has won a reputation at this festival for being unco-operative for the cameras, particularly on the red carpet, by not striking enough poses for the paparazzi. Is she getting sick of the game? "I don't live my life focusing on the things that I hate," she says candidly and a little cryptically in a corner of a hotel lobby after the press conference. In fact, this festival is a huge triumph. She says that the premiere a day earlier the day before of her boyfriend Stuart Townsend's film Battle in Seattle (which she stars in) was one of her proudest moments. She had watched Townsend agonizing for years over the script and financing. The whole project nearly collapsed when the film, about anti-World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle, still didn't have a cast two weeks before filming was to start.
Bad boys will be bad boys. When Sean Penn, director and writer of Into the Wild, is asked how long it took him to adapt a screenplay from Jon Krakauer's non-fiction book of the same name, he pauses and leans forward, causing the assembled photographers to step up their shutterbugging. "Keep taking pictures," Penn says, wearily sarcastic, "I'm giving you every expression in the world." To that, the shooters, no heeders of warnings, shoot away with even more velocity. "No, stop it!" Penn snaps. "It's the ugliest music in the world."
Explaining, that he can't think with all the noise, the camera-clicking stops and the question is repeated. "It was three weeks of pacing, smoking and dictation," Penn answers, explaining that he had been writing the film for 10 years "in his head." Think how much quicker it would have been if the paparazzi hadn't been distracting him all those years.
"I don't mind being used for a cause." That's how Don Cheadle puts it during a polite lunch with the producers and director of the documentary Darfur Now. More than a film about the genocide in Sudan, Darfur Now advocates taking action and shows us how. Since starring in Hotel Rwanda, Cheadle has been active in the cause, co-founding the group Not On Our Watch. He's also a central character in the film. He said he recognizes full well how celebrities can fall flat on their faces if they seem to be more talk than action. Clooney is also a close supporter of the Darfur cause and the doc itself, but he was on a plane and couldn't make the Darfur panel discussion at the festival. But Cheadle is more than happy to comply. Besides, he joked, Brad couldn't make it.