The Master press conference was one of the most anticipated of the Toronto Film Festival, mostly because it marked the first opportunity for quote-hungry journalists to lock down the film’s elusive star, Joaquin Phoenix. 20 minutes after the expected start time, and with the room growing increasingly weary, Harvey Weinstein made a surprise appearance on stage to apologize for director Paul Thomas Anderson and Phoenix’s tardiness with a lame joke, and assured us of their imminent arrival. He was only half right. Anderson did arrive, along with Amy Adams and his longtime producer JoAnn Sellar, but Phoenix, as many expected, was a no-show. When asked why his leading man was absent, PTA explained, “He’s unpredictable.”
Other topics discussed included the film’s recent near-sweep in Venice (“I’m grateful for whatever they want to give us”), its parallels to Scientology, which the obviously annoyed director merely shrugged off, and what he thinks of the film’s inevitable Oscar buzz, (“Great. Fucking great.”), and his thoughts on the recent National Conventions (“I can’t watch them. They’re the same every year.”). That’s when Amy Adams chimed in, expressing her disgust with the news that the TLC reality freakshow Here Comes Honey Boo Boo beat both rallies in the ratings. And just like that, the doughy sensation was being discussed at The Master press conference and people’s eye sockets proceeded to bleed. At one point, a journalist suggested PTA make a movie about the reality star, to which he responded “I don’t even know who Honey Boo Boo is.” We feel dumb.