It's no secret that "The Fifth Estate," "August: Osage County," and "12 Years a Slave" are all films premiering at this year's Toronto International Film Festival in which Benedict Cumberbatch either stars or appears.
But is that some sort of festival record? Well, it might be if you factor in that this is the "Sherlock" actor's debut at the annual gathering in Canada.
"I'm over the moon. This is the first time I've ever been to this festival. I don't know if that's a record — to have three films and one of them is a gala opening night film," the 37-year-old actor told Yahoo! Movies during an interview about his starring role as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (You see, Daniel Radcliffe is just shy of Cumberbatch's special film fest distinction. Radcliffe is also in three TIFF movies this year — "Kill Your Darlings," "The F-Word," and "Horns" — but he has been to the fest before, as recently as last year for "The Woman in Black.")
"It couldn't be better. It's a perfect storm of the output of what I've done over the last year," "The Fifth Estate" star added.
But wait. Jake Gyllenhaal thinks he has an edge on 'ol Benny C. You see, the 32-year-old "Brokeback Mountain" actor stars in two films debuting at this year's TIFF that are uniquely linked:
Yahoo Movies: You're part of a healthy group of actors doing what I've been calling "doubling down on TIFF" …
Jake Gyllenhaal: Who's doing it with the same director? [That] is my question [sly grin]. (Gyllenhaal is at the festival to promote "Prisoners" and "Enemy" — both directed by Denis Villeneuve.)
YM: You're the only one.
JG: There you go. Take that, TIFF.
YM: You win.
Or does he?
"I'm not into competing, but I'm really happy to be here," Cumberbatch told us when we brought up the possibility of a friendly rivalry with Gyllenhaal. "I think it's just happenstance… None of this is planned," he added.
Both actors have more in common than mere multiple TIFF movie premieres: The two were also more than happy to veer off script to promote their various films.
At "The Fifth Estate" press junket on Saturday, Cumberbatch went rogue to discuss the importance of one of his other projects (something that could have ruffled some feathers over at DreamWorks). "'12 Years a Slave' is a beautiful, uncompromising, unflinching gaze at an incredibly important story — a true story... of a free man who is taken into slavery. It's an incredible perspective to have on that era in history," said Cumberbatch of the already Oscar buzzy film.
And Gyllenhaal was more than happy to steer the conversation into "Enemy" territory at the "Prisoners" junket just the day before: "I loved the idea of identity and the search for identity and masculinity. I loved what [Villeneuve] was saying. As soon as I met with him, I thought, 'We're of like minds.' We have a lot that is very different … He will say the same thing — I love him, and as he says [in French-Canadian accent] deeply hate him. I consider him a brother," said the 32-year-old actor of "Enemy" and its director.
You have to hand it to Cumberbatch and Gyllenhaal: When you have multiple TIFF films to stump for, you have to stay nimble.