Oscar winners a year ago, Moore and Redmayne back in Toronto

AP News
Posted: Sep 13, 2015 8:27 PM
Oscar winners a year ago, Moore and Redmayne back in Toronto

TORONTO (AP) — A year ago at the Toronto International Film Festival, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne debuted the films — "Still Alice" and "The Theory of Everything" — that would go on to land them Oscars.

This year, they're both back in Toronto with the movies they were making in between award-show speeches. Their heads have stopped spinning, but their disbelief hasn't.

"I don't know if I ever let it even get close enough to me that I thought it was a possibility," says Moore. "Now I look at it like: Did that happen? What?"

She breaks into a hearty laugh. "I mean, my gosh. It was such a lovely experience and kind of hard to believe."

Two days after winning the Academy Award for best actress, Moore was on an ice-skating rink in Brooklyn, shooting the Rebecca Miller comedy "Maggie's Plan" along with another veteran of the season, Ethan Hawke of "Boyhood." While "Maggie's Plan" is looking for distribution after its Toronto premiere, Moore also stars in one of the festival's most anticipated debuts: "Freeheld."

In it, she stars as New Jersey police detective Laurel Hester, who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, sought to have her pension go to her domestic partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page), an inheritance that would have been automatic for a married couple. The case became a cause celebre, spawning an Oscar-winning short documentary.

Moore's performance captures the many stories within the moving "Freeheld": the love story between Laurel and Stacie, the painful onset of cancer and the civil rights fight at the heart of the movie. The film, directed by Peter Sollett, was to make its premiere Sunday night, with Andree in attendance.

"It's so personal. It's so, so incredibly personal," said Moore. "We go to the movies all the time and see all these stories, and then you think: Wait a minute. This happened. This happened not so long ago. This is somebody's life. This is their legacy."

The performance in "Freeheld" (out Oct. 2) could return Moore to awards season, which Toronto unofficially kicks off. Ditto for Redmayne, who stars in Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl," a drama inspired by 1920s transgender pioneer Lili Elbe. The performance is Redmayne's second straight ambitious transformation, following his portrayal of Stephen Hawking.

Shooting, though, began amid the late-night celebrations of "The Theory of Everything."

"Our first day filming was the morning after the BAFTAs," recalled Redmayne. "And there is a scene in which I'm in bed and she takes the cover off. And whenever I see the film and she whips over the blanket, I just think: Hangover. You can see the lines scored into my face."

But like Moore, Redmayne was relieved to step out of the delirious frenzy of the Oscars and back into work.

"What was wonderful within that year was knowing that this was coming," says Redmayne of "The Danish Girl," which opens Nov. 27. "So whenever I was in LA promoting, I'd be rehearsing this and meeting trans people all over the world."


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP