The Toronto International Film Festival announced its initial wave of 2014 premieres and galas this morning and it features some familiar awards titles, some big stars and some unexpected studio titles.
Among the major studio films, David Dobkin's “The Judge” with Robert Downey Jr. and Antoine Fuqua's “The Equalizer” each received gala slots and should premiere over the festival's opening weekend. Other announced galas so far include Bennett Miller's acclaimed “Foxcatcher,” which debuted at Cannes, and Mike Binder's “Black and White” starring Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer and Anthony Mackie.
Toronto has also scheduled special gala screenings for David Cronenberg's “Map to the Stars” with Julianne Moore and Robert Pattinson, François Ozon's “The New Girlfriend,” Ed Zwick's “Pawn Sacrifice” with Tobey Maguire, Lone Scherfig's “The Riot Club,” Jean-Marc Vallée's “Wild,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's “Samba” and Shawn Levy's “This is Where I Leave You” featuring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Adam Driver.
While TIFF somewhat oddly did not reveal its opening night film, the closing night selection is Alan Rickman's “A Little Chaos” starring Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts and Stanley Tucci, as well as Rickman himself.
In a release from the festival, Rickman noted, “It is a great privilege for A Little Chaos to have its world premiere in Toronto and for it to be given the Festival's closing night Gala, but it is also a very personal pleasure. I have filmed in the city, visited often, and some of my closest friends live there. It will be like coming home.”
Some of the other intriguing selections include directorial debuts for Jon Stewart (“Rosewater”) and Chris Evans (“Before We Go”) as well as new films from Chris Rock (“Top Five”), Noah Baumbach (“While We're Young”), Oren Moverman (“Time Out of Mind”), Susanne Bier (“A Second Chance”), Liv Ullmann (“Miss Julie”), Jason Reitman (“Men, Women & Children”), David Gordon Green (“Manglehorn”), Richard LaGravenese (“The Last Five Years”), Barry Levinson (“The Humbling”) and Andrew Niccol (“Good Kill”).
Major stars with new brand new films include Kristen Stewart (“Still Alice”), Jennifer Aniston (“Cake”), Al Pacino (“The Humbling”), Sam Worthington (“The Keeping Room”), Jessica Chastain (“Miss Julie”), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”), Kevin Hart (“Top Five”) and Ben Stiller (“While We're Young”). Anna Kendrick, like a number of actors, will have two films at the festival including “Cake” and “The Last Five Years.”
James Gandolfini's last film, “The Drop,” will also debut at Toronto.
Here is a more detailed list of this year's selections:
“Black and White”
Mike Binder, USA
“Black and White” is the story of a widowed grandfather who is left to raise his bi-racial granddaughter. When the little girl”s paternal grandmother seeks custody, a bitter legal battle ensues that forces the uneasy family members to have an honest conversation about life, death, anger and America”s racial divide. Starring Academy Award-winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, as well as Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Ehle, Gillian Jacobs, Bill Burr, Andre Holland and Jillian Estell.