Drake ducks out of TIFF: Toronto performer cancels appearance at 'Monsters and Men' premiere | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Drake ducks out of TIFF: Toronto performer cancels appearance at 'Monsters and Men' premiere

Drake will appear at the Toronto International Film Festival tonight to support "Monsters and Men," a drama about police violence. Drake performs during the "Aubrey & The Three Amigos Tour" in Toronto, Tuesday August 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
September 06, 2018 - 1:32 PM

TORONTO - Organizers at the Toronto International Film Festival suffered a setback to their opening night celebrations Thursday after Drake pulled out of his appearance with little notice.

The Toronto performer was expected to inject major star power into the festival's launch party at the TIFF Bell Lightbox where hundreds of moviegoers were set to gather for the Canadian premiere of "Monsters and Men."

But he appeared to surprise both TIFF organizers and the film's director with his sudden exit. A statement sent by TIFF said that "due to scheduling commitments on his current tour" Drake wouldn't be able to attend.

It's the second time in less than a month the rapper has left Torontonians hanging with hardly a warning or a clear reason.

Last month, he backed out of the first Canadian stop on his concert tour — playing his hometown — less than a day before he was slated to perform. The move shocked concertgoers who booked hotels and planned visits to the city to see his hyped show.

The concert promoter issued a statement saying it was "due to circumstances" beyond its control, and Drake has yet to reschedule the date.

He later took to Instagram with a video that showed him visiting a Chicago girl as she awaited a heart transplant, telling her that he was supposed to play a concert that day.

This time around, the reason behind Drake's TIFF cancellation is unclear, since he isn't booked to play another date on his tour until Friday night in Boston.

A request for further clarification from his representatives was declined, while Neon, the film's U.S. distributor, has directed any comments to the rapper and TIFF organizers.

Everything appeared to be running smoothly as of Thursday morning, with Drake scheduled to walk the red carpet for "Monsters and Men," and TIFF organizers confirming his appearance with photographers.

Even director Reinaldo Marcus Green said he didn't know the change of plans until he was reached for comment while filming a Netflix series on location in Jamaica.

Drake is credited as executive producer on "Monsters and Men," which follows a Brooklyn community rocked by the shooting death of a black man at the hands of a police officer.

But his absence puts a damper on what was expected to be a huge launch event at the Lightbox. As of Thursday morning, the floors of the building were already decorated with dozens of vinyl decals of the film's logo, running from the entrance all the way to the movie theatre upstairs.

A number of interactive art installations were also being put together to engage viewers.

"'Monsters and Men' is a project very close to Drake's heart," said the statement, issued Thursday.

"He wishes the film the utmost success and feels strongly about its ability to positively inspire dialogue."

The film stars Anthony Ramos, who played in "Hamilton" on Broadway, John David Washington of "Blackkklansman," and Kelvin Harrison Jr., who appeared in "Birth of a Nation" and "Mudbound."

"Monsters and Men," which is screenwriter Green's directorial debut, won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

Drake has expressed interest in spending more time dedicated to supporting film and TV projects.

He served as executive producer on last year's TIFF entry "The Carter Effect," a documentary about the career of NBA player Vince Carter.

He's also credited as a producer on the upcoming HBO series "Euphoria" starring Zendaya.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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