When Toronto actress Jennifer Gibson told us that filming scenes with Julianne Moore for David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars was like “a dirty slumber party”, we immediately moved the TIFF 2014 film up to the top of our “must-see” list this week. Not many actors ever get the chance to work with one of their idols, but Gibson got just that when she was cast in Cronenberg’s latest film, a satirical dramedy that captures the detrimental effects of Hollywood’s magnetic pull, which also stars Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Sarah Gadon, and Carrie Fisher. Given Cronenberg’s hometown boy status, Maps to the Stars will be one of TIFF 2014’s most anticipated films, especially given early praise for Moore’s performance from the likes of Vanity Fair. The film will open doors for hometown girl Gibson too who, aside from being talented and stunningly beautiful, is also funny in real life in a self-deprecating way that shows she’s about as real as it gets despite her career in the spotlight. We caught up with Gibson to find out more about her plans for TIFF 2014 and working with Cronenberg and Moore.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m a Toronto based actor and I’m terrible at talking about myself. Aren’t you excited for the interview now? I’m also a first-time mom-to-be. My husband and I are expecting our daughter Nov. 27.
You star in the highly anticipate David Cronenberg film Maps to the Stars with Robert Pattinson at this year’s TIFF. What are you most nervous or excited for regarding seeing the film on the big screen with audiences for the first time?
I am always anxious to see my work, as I tend to be my worst critic. In this case, I’m particularily nervous to watch a love scene. It’s a very revealing threesome, and I can’t help but cringe at the thought of that much of me on the big screen! I was, of course, nervous to film the scene, but Julianne Moore put me so at ease, by the end we were laughing and telling stories like it was a slumber party. A dirty slumber party, granted!
What did you take away from the experience of Maps to the Stars as an actor? How did filming such a huge blockbuster with critically acclaimed talent help shape you?
Working on a David Cronenberg movie was something I had always aspired to, and it did not disappoint. His set is so calm, assured and relaxed; you can’t help but trust and feel supported. Especially in a scene like the one I described, that is everything. My scenes were with Julianne Moore, and that was one of the highlights of my entire career. I have always respected, admired, and been inspired by her. I learned so much from working with her. She is not just a wonderful actor, she is a sincerely wonderful person, and treats everyone with such kindness. Both she and David bring so much joy to the set. It really reminded me of what a gift it is to make movies for a living.
Finish this sentence: I love TIFF because…
It brings the city together to celebrate film! I am always so proud to live in a city that hosts a festival that attracts top talent, yet is not just for the movie starts and bigwig execs. It is still accessible to local film lovers, and so many people take great advantage of that.
What movies besides your own are you most excited to see at TIFF 2014 and why?
Julie (as she calls herself and I am shamelessly name dropping) has another film here called Still Alice that looks amazing. It’s about a woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Obviously I would watch her read a phone book, but I think she will be absolutely riveting in this role. I, along with far too many others, have had people in my life affected by this devastating disease.
Nightcrawler also looks fantastic, and was exec produced by my friend Gary Michael Walters who also made Drive, which I loved.
I’m very proud to also call Ben Lewis a friend, and his directorial debut Zero Recognition is getting great buzz. He is a great actor, and I can’t wait to see the film.
Recurring theme: I get very excited to see my friends’ films.
What’s one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
For kind of a loud person, I’m really quite shy. Acting may seem like a bizarre career for a shy person, but I’m fine as long as I’m playing a character! I’m terrible at parties.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I try to exploit any talent I even remotely possess.
How would you describe your red carpet style? Any favourite designers or secret style tips?
This year, at 7 months pregnant, my red carpet style is all about the baby bump! Some dresses I’ve picked are pretty clingy and really show the bump, others have an empire waist, but I’m not trying to disguise it, I’m so proud of what my body is creating.
The best style secret I have is do not wear anything you do not feel fabulous in. If you are at all uncomfortable or insecure, it will show. This does not apply to shoes. Christian Louboutin makes women look amazing, but my feet always pay the price. That said, I’m not giving them up.
What’s always in your beauty bag?
Mineral powder. No one wants an oil slick on their face, but a little dewy glow is good.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10-15 years?
I hope to have the ability to bring important stories to life. Ideally, my name would green light pictures that matter and I could produce and/or act in them.