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“If you came expecting a comedy tonight, I apologize in advance,” the Canadian director told a capacity Ryerson Theater, where he has screened most of his films since Thank You for Smoking in 2005.
Instead, Reitman prepared his hometown audience for a radical departure with the upcoming Paramount release.
The family kidnapping drama portrays a seriously depressed mother, her protective son and the escaped felon they allow into their home.
Reitman told the festival audience he made all his movies with the same team, and with the Ryerson Theater as his premiere destination.
“This is the theater I think about when I’m making movies. You are the audience I think about, so I sure hope you like it,” he said.
The director, whose family has a long association with Toronto that includes helping underwrite the cost of building Bell Lightbox, also dedicated his domestic drama to his mother, Genevieve Robert, who was in the audience.
Reitman said he’s forever fielding questions about his father, the Hollywood producer and director Ivan Reitman.
But, with Labor Day a film about mother and son, Reitman recalled a childhood in which his father was often away making movies and he was left alone with his mother.
The Titanic star sported a baby bump beneath a long and flowing navy blue dress and cradled her belly earlier in the evening as she posed for the paparazzi on the red carpet outside the Ryerson.
Their arrival on stage followed sustained applause for Labor Day as the credits rolled.
Winslet is expecting her third child, her first with husband Ned Rocknroll.
The Toronto International Film Festival continues to September 15.
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