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TIFF 2012 Celebrity Stalk-Off

We challenged our interns to stalk Ryan Gosling and Marisa Tomei. Here's what happened.

The Toronto International Film Festival is an annual event that brings some of the best current and upcoming international movies to Canada’s real capital city (sorry Ottawa, you’re boring). It’s actually a pretty great festival aside from everyone jerking each other off left and right with phrases like “buzz film” and “Oscar-worthy performance” or trying to convince people that they’re friends with Bradley Cooper. However, like any festival that runs mostly on hype, people seem to care more about seeing their favourite celebrities than they do about seeing amazing movies. While we’ve covered celebrity obsession in a number of places, we wondered how hard it could be to get uncomfortably close to a celebrity during TIFF, so we asked our Toronto interns to compete in a Celebrity Stalk-Off.


These young men are Sam Zaret and Brad Casey, our happy, bearded, probably high interns who we sent out celebrity stalking. Sam chose to stalk Marisa Tomei because “it’s a George Costanza thing.” Brad chose to stalk Ryan Gosling because “he seems like he wouldn’t be an asshole.” Their goal was to get as close to their celebrity as possible. The winner got to keep his job. Let’s see how they did.

Stalking Ryan Gosling

The first thing I did in preparation for finding Ryan Gosling was to sign up for alerts every time his name came up on Twitter. I thought maybe people would tweet his location in Toronto as they saw him, but I quickly found out that anyone who mentions Ryan Gosling on Twitter is crazy and would never be allowed within 20 feet of the star of late 90s Canadian TV show Breaker High. Here are a few highlights I received over the days to follow:

Also, people were going bonkers about Ryan Gosling’s apparent role in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie, his involvement with Eva Mendes and what the difference between him and Ryan Reynolds is. But no one knew where to find the man. Hashtag fuck.

Since this was a road that ended with lonely, horny women, I decided that the best way to find young Hercules would be to enlist the help of other celebrities. Because all celebrities know each other, right? I thought, who is cooler than Ryan Gosling and wouldn’t have their body guards knock me out if I asked them for help?


I went to the opening of Bill Murray’s new movie, Hyde Park On Hudson, to see if the Santa Claus of celebrity could help me on my wild Gos chase. I opted not to write “Bill Murray I Need Help!” on my sign in order to avoid confusion and went with the simple, “Bill Murray Can You Help Me?” while I waited outside his movie premiere at the red carpet.

Early into holding up my sign a TIFF volunteer approached me. I thought she was going to confiscate my sign and ruin my plan, but instead she informed me that the red carpet was on the other side of the theater and Bill Murray was already arriving. When I asked her if she’d seen Ryan Gosling she just seemed confused and told me I should probably leave.

I ran to the other side of the theater to see Bill already in the press lineup, off in the distance.

I held up my sign and waved it around in desperation but, coming off like the crazy stalker I truly was, security was quick to take it away from me.

Since Bill Murray would prove to be no help, I decided to find Ryan Gosling’s ex-girlfriend, Rachel McAdams. She would know where he is, wouldn’t she?

I found a ticket to the new Rachel McAdams movie, To the Wonder. As I walked into the theater Rachel was being interviewed just beyond a row of security guards and media people.

As I screamed “Rachel!” at the back of her head a security guy told me to stop or I’d be kicked out. I told him I needed to find Ryan Gosling. He said, “I’m sure you do,” and then directed me to the theater.


Despite what you may have heard, To the Wonder was pretty great. After the movie there was a Q&A period with Rachel McAdams and some awful woman who seemed disappointed to have starred in a Terrence Malick movie. That's when I saw my chance. I raised my hand, ready to ask: “Do you know where I can find Ryan Gosling,” when called upon.

Unfortunately, I was overlooked for people who had serious questions about the movie. Except one reporter who asked that awful woman on the left what ethnicity she was, to which the entire audience groaned.

Earlier in the week I was introduced to a guy named Andy who told me that he’s been getting celebrity autographs since he was one-year-old, that he has enough autographs to retire and that he could also help me find Ryan Gosling. When I asked Andy why he doesn’t just retire he told me he loves meeting celebrities too much.

I met with Andy at the premiere for Ryan Gosling’s new movie, The Place Beyond the Pines. He told me he was just coming from meeting Adam Sandler and David Spade at their premiere. I asked him if I could take a picture of him but he said he’d like to keep his identity secret and that “he likes his privacy too much.” He told me that if I wanted a shot of Ryan Gosling I’d have to rush his car as soon as it got there, force my way through the crowd and get my camera as close to his face as possible before snapping as many pictures as I could and hope for the best. No problem, I thought.


There were a lot of girls there who would scream every time a car went past with tinted windows. It was madness. It was hot and hard to breathe and the whole place smelled like horny girls and soccer mums (which is kind of like the smell of wet puppies).

This girl was my favourite because she showed up as prepared as every Ryan Gosling fan should be.

After a few false alarms and a lot of cops yelling at us, Ryan Gosling finally drove up to the crowd and exited his black, tinted-windowed Escalade. The crowd screamed and rushed toward him and I found myself smushed next to a golden retriever, holding my camera in the air and making sure the dog didn’t get trampled, wondering where the hell it came from. (I still don't know. I guess Gosling's sex appeal spans species.) I got about 20 feet away from Ryan Gosling and snapped this photo:

A little blurry, but at least I got him. And at about 20 feet away. Now I can stop being a crazy person. Beat that, Sam.

Stalking Marisa Tomei

Well, fuck. Who hasn't seen Ryan Gosling in Toronto? I saw him years ago in a bookstore. I waved and he waved back. He’s always in Toronto, I’m not impressed.

I should start by saying I don't care too much about seeing a lot of people in real life unless they make rap music. I picked Marisa Tomei purely because I had a celebrity crush on her when I was a kid. Still, because I take my job seriously, in an effort to get into the true stalker mindset I decided to kick off my assignment by jerking it to a pic of her on the cover of Metro news. It wasn't great. Newspapers are annoying to hold with one hand and you can hardly see her tits at all in that photo.


Unfortunately I missed the meet-and-greet with Marisa because of work, so I planned to try and grab a picture of her at Roy Thomson hall before the premiere of Love, Marilyn.

I went armed with a Marisa Tomei shirt I got printed at a custom t-shirt place. I felt like an asshole for paying for a whole hour of parking, because the t-shirt process took all of about 10 minutes. Apparently putting images on shirts is easy as fuck. I had a lot of people hollering things at me like “Nice shirt, dude!” and “EPIC shirt, bro!” People like shirts with hot Italian girls on them. Who knew?

When I got to Roy Thomson Hall nothing was happening and there weren’t too many people lined up. I guess the movie was lame. Great, I thought. If the film was shitty, maybe there won't be so many annoying people standing around yelling out movie star names. I left and decided to run into a local Subway to find out if Marisa had been in for a sub lately.

The lady at the front asked me if I was related to the pretty girl on my shirt and gave me a free cookie because I was polite or some shit. I asked the guy who made my sub if he had seen any famous people, and he informed me that a shit ton of CBC employees come in for subs. “CBC employees love subs, celebrities don't.” He was pretty sure that if any famous people came in, they would be vegetarian or really picky about toppings. All very informative, but still no sign of Marisa.


I tried to get a good position on the red carpet, but it was hard. The area was swarmed with people who sucked, camera men with foreign news teams and teenage girls all talking about dumb movies. Amidst the crowd I spotted an old camper of mine from my camp counselor days. This kid was obsessed with soap operas so I knew he was here to see some famous people. He told me he's seen 15 movies so far and that anyone who isn't seeing stuff at TIFF is truly missing out. He was quite proud of the fact Billy Connolly patted his back.

There were a lot of people there I would never hang out with. Everyone was standing far too close and reaching over people to get photos, so there was the occasional bumping of sweaty armpits. It sucked. I immediately felt claustrophobic and homesick. A Spanish news team was asking people questions about Penelope Cruz. After about an hour of standing next to one of the smellier people (TIFF seems to attract some stink), some black sedans pulled up and famous people started walking around. People immediately started snapping pics, getting violent and yelling “Ben Foster!!!” as he walked around with his mum for a bit.

When he came over to the crazy girl standing in front of me, I snapped some pics. This is as close as I could get to him.

A photo of not Marisa Tomei

After a lot of standing around and zero Marisa Tomei, I left. I was a bit depressed I didn’t see her, so I got a poutine on the way home and then jerked off to more pics of her.

Although I didn't meet Marisa Tomei, I did manage to get pretty fucking close to Ben Foster, and I got a pic of his mum. I bet Brad doesn't have a picture of Mrs. Gosling. Also, fuck you Andy for helping Brad out and not me, that’s some bullshit.


Since Brad captured his celebrity we deemed him the winner. We decided that though Sam lost we would let him keep his job but as punishment he had to jerk it to a picture of Ryan Gosling. Which he didn’t seem to not enjoy.