TORONTO — Saoirse Ronan can understand the scene in “Brooklyn” where the middle-aged mother cannot bear to watch as her younger daughter sails off to America. The 21-year-old actress had FaceTimed her mum that very morning, she told a handful of writers at the Toronto International Film Festival in mid-September. “She was starting to cry as I was getting off. She was like, ‘Just do great!’ and she got off the phone.” The actress, born in the United States and reared in Ireland, has been doing great for years.
TORONTO — Michael Stuhlbarg padded around in his stocking feet and tried to make himself “small and squat” to play Edward G. Robinson in “Trumbo.” The late actor, a tough guy on screen but a sophisticated art collector off, was 5-feet-6 at best while Stuhlbarg is 5-feet-8. “He was of Romanian heritage, and my heritage is quite mixed. I put weight on for the piece, and I also wore a prosthetic nose. I tried to make myself as small and squat as I could, given the time that I had.”
Barbara Vancheri Pittsburgh Post-Gazette TORONTO — It’s not unusual for an actor to learn a new skill or how to mimic one in service of a role. Jennifer Lawrence took archery lessons for “The Hunger Games,” Josh Brolin perfected peach pies for “Labor Day” and Chadwick Boseman mastered James Brown’s splits — down and back again — for “Get On Up.” Actor Timothy Spall may win the prize for preparation, though. He spent two years studying how to paint before rehearsals even started for filmmaker Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” about artist J.M.W. Turner.