Movies starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, as well as a documentary about Irish rockers U2, are among the high-profile pictures heading to the Toronto International Film Festival, which opens Sept. 8.
Organizers said Tuesday morning that the festival will feature the world premieres of Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball,” a baseball drama starring Pitt; Fernando Meirelles’ “360,” a set of interlocking European-set stories starring Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins; Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” starring Clooney as a man who is forced to re-examine his past and his future when his wife suffers a boating accident in Hawaii; and Jim Field Smith’s “Butter,” a dramatic comedy featuring Jennifer Garner.
Oren Moverman’s Los Angeles police drama “Rampart,” Jonathan Levine’s cancer comedy “50/50” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, and Marc Forster’s fact-based drama “Machine Gun Preacher” are also among the world premieres.
The opening film will be a documentary on Bono and U2, “From the Sky Down,” from director Davis Guggenheim, who won an Oscar for the environmental film “An Inconvenient Truth” and made last year’s education-reform documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman.’”
“Sky” is a rare choice for Toronto, which in its 35 previous editions has never opened with a documentary and frequently opens with a Canadian film (last year’s opener was “Score: A Hockey Musical”).
The festival will also offer North American premieres for David Cronenberg’s historical drama “A Dangerous Method,” which stars Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung; “The Ides of March,” an adaptation of the stage play “Farragut North” starring Ryan Gosling and Clooney (who also directed); and Madonna’s “W.E.,” a drama that juxtaposes the romance of England’s King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson with a contemporary love story.
Organizers are expected to announce new batches of titles in the weeks to come.
The vast 11-day Canadian gathering has become an important platform for launching Oscar contenders, though it competes in a crowded late-summer window with film festivals in Telluride, Colo., and Venice, Italy. Last year, eventual 2011 best picture winner “The King’s Speech” had its world premiere in Telluride before coming to Toronto, while “Black Swan,” which landed Natalie Portman the lead actress statue, bowed in Venice and also played the Canadian fest.
(Zeitchik reported from Los Angeles.)