Clooney pic a centerpiece at fest Friday

Unsuspecting Canucks might’ve been double-checking their calendars as the city buzzed about “The Ides of March,” George Clooney’s political drama that was a centerpiece at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday.

No less than three parties championed the cast, including a pre-show event at Soho House and a late-night soiree at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, but that didn’t explain the near 45-minute delay of the pic’s unspooling at Roy Thomson Hall.

“Sorry we’re so late. You know, blame Brad Pitt,” Clooney joked as he introduced the film, noting his friend’s “Moneyball,” which screened earlier and slowed auds getting to their seats.

The rest of the night went off without a hitch at the Alliance Films party where cast members of “Ides,” including Ryan Gosling and Evan Rachel Wood, joined the Canadian distrib to toast its 21 films at the fest.

Wood downplayed the political side of “Ides.”

“It asks the questions of who we want to be as people, rather than what party or candidate is better,” she said. “There are no heroes or villains in this film.”

The Alliance event featured a surprise mini-concert from Cee Lo Green, who had the crowd belting out his Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy.”

“Usually you expect a corporate event to be cold and coarse, but tonight was an exception,” he said.

Friday also saw the annual fundraiser for Artists for Peace and Justice, at Ame restaurant.

Paul Haggis hosted along with Gerard Butler, with Jon Hamm in attendance. The helmer is proud of the org’s community outreach work in Port-au-Prince. “APJ built a state-of-the-art cholera center that has treated over 10,000 people and just opened the first free high school in Haiti, with a permanent structure going up now,” said Haggis.

APJ’s fundraising continued Saturday when Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder performed.

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