The Imitation Game, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the brilliant British mathematician who cracked the Nazi Enigma code during World War II and was later ruined for being outed as a homosexual, was voted the favorite film by audiences at the Toronto Film Festival. Directed by Morten Tyldum and co-starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode, The Imitation Game leaped into the Oscar race and was warmly embraced by audiences, who named it the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. It will open in theaters on Nov. 21. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Toronto Film Festival (1-10 of 144)
If you’re a middle-class American with a mortgage and children, 99 Homes is a horror film, scarier than Halloween and Saw combined. The movie, which debuted in Venice and is looking for distribution at this week’s Toronto Film Festival, stars Andrew Garfield as Nash, a Florida construction worker circa 2006. Out of work and underwater on his mortgage during the housing meltdown, he’s evicted from his family home—along with his mother (Laura Dern) and young son (Noah Lomax). It’s the nightmare scenario: Police knock on the front door and give them two minutes to pack their essentials before a gaggle of vultures sweep in and drag their possessions to the curb. You don’t live here anymore.
It is a traumatic scene, one that will be revisited throughout the film because Carver (Michael Shannon), the savvy operator supervising the mayhem, is preying on the most vulnerable for his own selfish schemes. But that’s not the most chilling scene in the movie, because director Ramin Bahrani turns the American Dream and Nash’s best intentions against each other. What would you do to get your home back? What would you do to provide for your child? Anything? Everything? Would you go work for the corrupt man who put your family on the street? Would you sell your soul and screw over your neighbors to save yourself?
Shannon’s Carver is practically the devil incarnate, and the Oscar-nominated actor spoke to EW about his performance and why he refuses to take out a mortgage. READ FULL STORY
In advance of its world premiere tonight in Toronto, Pawn Sacrifice, Ed Zwick’s movie about erratic chess genius Bobby Fischer and his 1972 matchup with Soviet champion Boris Spassky, was picked up by Bleecker Street for a low seven figures price. Tobey Maguire, who stars as Fischer, worked for a decade to get the story on film, and Steven Knight, who recently wrote and directed the Tom Hardy drive-and-talk drama, Locke, wrote the script.
Fischer was a child prodigy who was also combustable, paranoid, rude, and antagonistic. He raged against Jews and Communists, and accused the Soviet and the international chess cabal, as he saw it, of collaborating together against him. But there was no denying his talent, and when he finally met Spassky in Iceland for the world title, in an atmosphere that can best be described as circus-like, he delivered one of the greatest moments in the game’s history and a cold war victory for the West.
Liev Schreiber plays Spassky, and the film also stars Peter Saarsgard, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Robin Weigart.
The film marks the first acquisition for Bleecker Street, the new outfit headed by former Focus exec Andrew Karpen. Pawn Sacrifice is tentatively scheduled for a 2015 release. Deadline initially reported the sale.
How does one find the right actor to play Stephen Hawking?
Typically, directors and producers do their homework by reviewing an actor’s previous work, looking for clues in the on-screen moments to inspire confidence that a performer has the goods to breathe life into their character. Actor X can do this because he already did that. But unless Daniel Day-Lewis is in the mix, there really is no film resume that suggests an actor can convincingly portray Hawking, the brilliant British scientist whose body is ravaged by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), the motor-neurone disease that robbed him of his ability to speak on his own.
“[In casting Hawking], you have to take a leap into the dark,” says director James Marsh, who successfully gambled on Eddie Redmayne, immediately propelling the 32-year-old British actor and their film, The Theory of Everything, into Oscar contention after its world premiere at this week’s Toronto International Film Festival. Redmayne, best known in the U.S. for playing Marius in Les Misérables, and falling hard for Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn, wowed critics and audiences alike, playing the charming and mischievous academic whose physical condition slowly deteriorates from the moment he’s diagnosed with ALS in the 1960s. In a still-evolving Best Actor race that also includes Foxcatcher‘s Steve Carell and The Imitation Game’s Benedict Cumberbatch, Redmayne might be the one to beat. READ FULL STORY
The Cobbler didn’t pull down the rave reviews that writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) is usually accustomed to when it debuted earlier this week at the Toronto Film Festival, but an Adam Sandler movie still demands attention. One of Sandler’s three festival movies, and the only one that he truly carries, was picked up by RLJ/Image Entertainment, which acquired the U.S. rights to The Cobbler for about $3.5 million.
In the fable, Sandler plays a lonely New York shoe-repairman who senses that he’s let life past him by. But when he discovers a magical family heirloom that allows him to literally “walk in another man’s shoes,” he embarks on a great adventure with far-reaching ramifications. Dustin Hoffman, Ellen Barkin, Dan Stevens, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, and Steve Buscemi also star. READ FULL STORY
EW has an exclusive trailer for the psychological drama Elephant Song, which will be making its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Wednesday, Sept 10.
For Jon Stewart, last night’s screening of his directorial debut, Rosewater, was a glorious homecoming of sorts. After all, he filmed Death to Smoochy in Toronto. But last night’s standing-room-only showing at the Toronto Film Festival was a true celebration, and before the screening, Stewart joked that Canada’s earnest warm reception felt like sarcasm to a cynical New Yorker like himself. Afterwards, the audience responded with a standing ovation, as much for the real Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned and accused of being a spy by Iranian authorities, as the cast and their first-time director.
The Daily Show host took three months off from his day job last summer to direct Bahari’s story, which had strangely pulled Stewart into its orbit because the Iranians used footage of Bahari’s appearance on The Daily Show as serious evidence of his espionage activities. Of course, the Iranians now also accuse Stewart of being a “CIA Zionist spy,” adding another surreal layer to the ridiculousness. The movie, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal as Bahari and Danish actor Kim Bodnia as his impatient Iranian interrogator, might seem like an unlikely debut for a comedian, but anyone who knows Stewart’s passion for politics, media, and how the two often mix to create a theater for the absurd, will recognize his fingerprints on the cinematic adaptation of Bahari’s memoir.
Hours after the Toronto debut, Stewart spoke to EW about his unlikely route to directing a film in Jordan and the things he would do over again if he could. (Hint: not much.) READ FULL STORY
Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, which stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a Brooklyn married couple stuck in a rut who are revitalized when they befriend a much younger couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried), was acquired by A24 at the Toronto Film Festival. The U.S. distribution rights went for $4 million, according to Deadline.
“We are enormous fans of Noah’s and were completely won over by While We’re Young,” said A24, in a statement. “Noah delivered a multi-generational comedy that is smart, extremely funny, and incredibly insightful, and which audiences across the country will embrace.” READ FULL STORY
Ethan Hawke is on a roll. Last year, he was nominated for another screenwriting Academy Award for Before Midnight, while also starring in the horror film, The Purge, his biggest hit since Training Day. This year, he’s kept it going with Boyhood, the best-reviewed film of the year that has him in the hunt for a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Add to that Good Kill, which debuted last week at the Venice Film Festival and screens at Toronto on Sept. 9. The film marks Hawke’s third collaboration with director Andrew Niccol, who helmed Gattaca and Lord of War, and co-stars Bruce Greenwood and January Jones. In Good Kill, Hawke plays Maj. Tom Egan, an Air Force pilot who has reluctantly traded the wild blue yonder for remote-controlling the deadly drones that rain down on the Middle East’s most dangerous regions from the comfort of home. “Every time I would sit and read the paper and read about a drone strike, I kind of had no idea what that really meant,” says Hawke. “I think I pictured some drone from Star Wars or something. But the reality is extremely interesting and the hope is to tell a true story about the experiences of the soldiers.”
Hawke spoke with EW about Good Kill and his new documentary, which is also playing at the Toronto Film Festival, as well as his biggest takeaway from the 12-year odyssey that was Boyhood. READ FULL STORY
Ladies and gentlemen, meet a couple of new Oscar contenders: Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy). The duo stars as Stephen Hawking and his deeply devoted wife Jane in Focus Features’ upcoming drama, The Theory of Everything. From the likes of the standing ovation given at the end of the film’s world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, it would be astonishing if both of their names didn’t land on Oscar’s short list. READ FULL STORY
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