Hopkins told Variety during a panel discussion about his new movie, “The Father,” that his message to his followers is simple. “Let’s not take ourselves too damn seriously,” he said. “So I’ll wake up have a bit of fun, because everyone is so grim.”

“The Father,” Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his acclaimed play of the same name, won raves and Oscar buzz when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It will screen at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. Zeller, who joined Hopkins and star Olivia Colman for the discussion, said he was happy the festival had found a way to move forward despite the public health crisis, but was sorry that “The Father” couldn’t be experienced in a packed theater.

“Cinema is a lot about sharing emotions and it’s a lot about sharing experiences and sharing a moment in a room with other people,” said Zeller.

“The Father” centers on an elderly man suffering from dementia. Colman plays his daughter, who wants to help her father, but struggles to figure out the best way to care for him while he’s losing his grip. Much of the action takes place in a London apartment, and Zeller tried to dramatize Hopkins’ character’s mental deterioration by playing with the set design — painting rooms different colors for certain scenes and moving furniture around to depict his fraying grasp on reality.

“The first challenge was to make it cinematic,” said Zeller. “I didn’t just want to film the play.”

Colman and Hopkins, both Oscar winners, bonded over a similar approach to their work. Neither performer likes to take themselves too seriously on set.

“I come from that British School of acting, which is to get on with the job,” said Hopkins.

“I couldn’t be a Method actor if I tried it,” said Colman.

Colman will return as Queen Elizabeth II this fall in the fourth season of Netflix’s “The Crown,” but she didn’t see much point in offering up spoilers on a season that will see the introduction of Princess Diana.

“The thing is you know the story,” said Colman. “It comes out in November, I think, and I play the queen.”

Colman, up for an Emmy this year for the third season of “The Crown,” plans to watch the show, which is being held virtually, with co-star Helena Bonham Carter, who is also up for an award for her work as Princess Margaret. However, the time zones could be problematic. Colman said Bonham Carter is not a late night person, and the broadcast won’t get underway until well past her bedtime.

“I don’t think she’ll be able to stay awake,” said Colman.

Colman said she’s been spending quarantine with her family, and has enjoyed going on excursions outside with her children and “foraging for wild garlic and fruits.”

Hopkins has kept busy by writing a screenplay and a short story, entitled “The Photographer.” He’s also been keeping his social media fans in the loop with frequent updates about his various pastimes and associates. Niblo’s newfound fame isn’t going to his head, Hopkins reports.

“He doesn’t care a damn,” said Hopkins. “He eats and sleeps. What’s wonderful about animals…is that they have no agenda.”

Variety’s Virtual TIFF Studio is presented by Canada Goose.