The Toronto International Film Festival will begin unveiling its selections on Tuesday, and several prominent publications have begun to speculate on which titles will make the cut. The Tracking Board has heard some scuttlebutt of its own, so here are some “predictions,” if you will.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners and Sicario both played TIFF, and you can expect Warner Bros. to get the buzz started on this big-budget sci-fi epic. With Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling on the red carpet together, the festival may need to add more security. This one is going to be a madhouse.
I, TONYA – Margot Robbie’s Tonya Harding movie will almost certainly skate its way over the Canadian border, as I noted on Twitter last week. After all, Craig Gillespie’s Lars and the Real Girl was at TIFF in 2007, and the festival always welcomes back its returning directors with open arms.
WOMAN WALKS AHEAD – Robbie won’t be the only leading lady to put her stamp on the festival, as Jessica Chastain’s Sitting Bull drama is likely to be part of the lineup. Susanne White directed the film, which follows Catherine Weldon, a portrait painter from who travels across the country to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull and becomes embroiled in the Lakota peoples’ struggle over the rights to their land.
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN – Woman Walks Ahead isn’t the only Chastain film we hear made the cut. Xavier Dolan’s star-studded English language debut was on Deadline’s list as well. Dolan’s films typically premiere at Cannes, but given the star power on display here and the fact that Chastain will already be in town, the inclusion of this film makes an awful lot of sense.
BRAD’S STATUS – It’s possible this film could pop up at multiple fall festivals, but I’m pretty sure Mike White and Ben Stiller have a date with Toronto. Amazon is distributing the film, in which Stiller plays a father who takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life’s choices.
FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE – Peter Landesman’s film starring Liam Neeson as Deep Throat was included on Deadline’s list. Let’s hope this one gets a warmer reception than Landesman’s directorial debut Parkland did in 2013.
FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL – Paul McGuigan’s May-December romance stars Jamie Bell as a young actor who hits it off with a Hollywood leading lady, played by the great Annette Bening. Barbara Broccoli produced the film, which features music by J. Ralph, so there’s a solid pedigree here.
THE RITUAL – David Bruckner’s genre film starring Rafe Spall could snag a Midnight Madness slot, as it follows a group of college friends who reunite for a trip to the forest, where they encounter a menacing presence in the woods that stalks them.
A WORTHY COMPANION dir by Jason & Carlos Sanchez – This Evan Rachel Wood vehicle is a real wild card. Here’s the synopsis, per IMDb: “Plagued by the abuse of her past and the turmoil of failed intimate encounters, Laura struggles to find a lover and a sense of normalcy. Her beacon of hope comes in 16-year-old Eva, a talented pianist disillusioned by the life her mother imposes upon her. The two form an unlikely relationship Laura becomes obsessed with Eva. Manipulation, denial and codependency fuel what ultimately becomes a fractured dynamic that can only sustain itself for so long.” Sounds pretty good, right?
BODIED – Deadline included Joseph Kahn’s latest on its list of possible titles, and I can confirm that I’ve heard the same, with a few extra tidbits. Expect it to screen very early in the festival, ahem, and don’t think you’ll find all of its producers on IMDb. With the ace I know it has up its sleeve, I expect this film will be one to keep a close eye on.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief