Director Jessica Yu took the stage in Toronto, in front of a roaring crowd, for the world premiere of Quiz Lady at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), starring Canadian legend Sandra Oh and Awkwafina.
The Princess of Wales Theatre erupted with laughter on Saturday night for an absolutely superb comedy that's complete joy and laughter all the way through.
What is 'Quiz Lady' about?
Quiz Lady is a story about two sisters.
Anne (Awkwafina) is quite reserved, lives alone with her beloved dog Linguine, in a house next to a cranky neighbour, played by Holland Taylor. But Anne's number one obsession is a TV trivia game show called "Can't Stop The Quiz." She's never missed an episode since she was a kid, playing along like a champ.
Jenny (Oh) is Anne's older sister but she's more of a free spirit. She's not particularly responsible or settled in her life yet, seemingly living out of her car.
The sisters are estranged but are forced to reconnect when their mother runs away from her senior's residence, and Anne and Jenny discover that their mother owes $80,000 of gambling debt to a bookie. When the sisters can't immediately produce the funds, Anne's beloved dog is kidnapped.
Scrambling to try to come up with the money, Jenny persuades Anne (after posting a video of her sister's trivia skills online, which went viral) to audition for the show, so they can win enough money to get Anne's dog back by paying off their mother's debt. That sets them off on a cross-country road trip, showcasing the entertaining dysfunction between these two characters, but with a lot of heart.
'I'm heartbroken to not be with you'
With such an exciting premiere in Toronto, along with a star-studded cast that also includes Will Ferrell, Jason Schwartzman and Tony Hale, some of that star power was missed with the talented actors standing alongside their SAG-AFTRA and WGA colleagues amid the ongoing strikes in Hollywood.
But Oh wanted to share a special message with her fellow Canadians in Toronto, which Yu read out following the film's screening.
"Thank you so much for coming to see the world premiere of Quiz Lady," the director read out to the crowd. "Thank you to everyone at TIFF and to director Jessica Yu ... for valiantly representing our film.
"I'm heartbroken to not be with you there, but I am aligned with the larger picture of the current SAG and WGA strikes."
With Yu presenting the film and participating in a Q&A alone, the director stated that it felt "weird" to be up there by herself to talk about this film, with such a stellar cast of actors and so brilliantly written by Jen D'Angelo.
While the strikes impacted who we saw at the premiere, it certainly didn't dampen the spirit in the room.
Quiz Lady is a testament to power of the purest form of laughter we have from just being thrown into a silly story, led by great actors.
In all honesty, you just can't be in a bad mood watching Oh in platform sneakers and with blue streaks in her hair, chaotically running around next to an anxious Awkwafina.