Stars at the Toronto Film Festival react to the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Actually, it should be about movies.

But even here at the Toronto International Film Festival, an ocean away from the UK, the death of 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II played a huge role. It provided festival organizers, filmmakers and talent with an opportunity to reflect on the life and legacy of a monarch whose 70-year reign is believed to be the longest in her country’s history. That’s partly because of Canada’s status as a member of the British Commonwealth, but also because the festival is such an international, A-list affair that it attracts movie stars and directors, who have often had face-to-face encounters with the Queen.

Ben Kingsley, who was at the festival to promote his work as painter Salvador Dali in Daliland, said he performed The Taming of the Shrew for the Queen and her family when he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company . and met her on other occasions, including for a “very intimate lunch at the palace.”

“She was a tremendous force of goodwill, kindness and wisdom – one that will leave a tremendous void in the world,” Kingsley said. “And I am confident that His Majesty Charles will fill and close and heal this wound in my beloved country.”

The Good Nurse star Eddie Redmayne also seemed to be coming to terms with her loss.

“It’s incredibly sad,” he said diversity. “I thought she was an extraordinary woman and someone who exemplified extraordinary resilience and a sense of duty. And those are two qualities that are really amazing and worth striving for. I was in London when it happened and it feels like the country is mourning.”

The Queen’s death was announced on the same day that TIFF launched its programme, prompting Cameron Bailey, the festival’s director, to pay tribute to the monarch in his opening speech. “As we gather to celebrate the power of film to move and illuminate the world around us, I wish to pay tribute to the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II today,” he said. “Our thoughts go out to everyone here and around the world who is grieving their loss.”

Empire of Light’s Olivia Colman had one of the most unique experiences of any star in Toronto this year when it came to the House of Windsor. After all, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth in the middle years of her reign for two seasons of Netflix’s royal sensation The Crown. She will soon pass that role to another legendary British actress, Imelda Staunton.

“She made a promise as a young woman and she absolutely kept it with such dignity,” she said. “We are all incredibly impressed with what she has done.” Stars at the Toronto Film Festival react to the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Charles Jones

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