See Meryl Streep, Eddie Murphy, more in first-look photos from Toronto International Film Festival lineup
Stars and potential Oscar breakouts head to TIFF
Pre-Oscar buzz soars as the Toronto International Film Festival continues to announce its 2019 lineup. Among contenders that will compete for commercial dollars and awards-voter attention at the Canadian festival include new titles from Marielle Heller (Mister Rogers-themed drama A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) and Lorene Scafaria (stripper-revenge saga Hustlers) to Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet Tubman biopic, Todd Phillips’ unorthodox interpretation of the infamous DC villain, Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, and Bryce Dallas Howard’s feature directorial debut, Dads, a documentary about parenthood starring her own father, Ron Howard. Ahead, check out more photos from some of the most exciting titles heading north to TIFF’s Special Presentations, Galas, Midnight Madness, Documentary, and Platform sections — including several first-look images from the year’s hotly anticipated titles starring Eddie Murphy, Meryl Streep, Adam Sandler, Riz Ahmed, Nicolas Cage, and more.
The Laundromat (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, David Schwimmer, Matthias Schoenaerts
TIFF synopsis: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas star in Steven Soderbergh’s guided tour through the corrupt and secret world of financial crime that was exposed by the infamous Panama Papers leak.
Sound of Metal (dir. Darius Marder)
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke
TIFF synopsis: Darius Marder establishes a strong cinematic voice with his debut feature, about a heavy-metal drummer (Riz Ahmed) who starts to lose his hearing and consequently begins to re-evaluate his place in the world.
Dads (dir. Bryce Dallas Howard)
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard, Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris
TIFF synopsis: Director Bryce Dallas Howard teams up with her father, Ron Howard, to explore contemporary fatherhood through anecdotes and wisdom from famous funnymen such as Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, and more.
Dolemite Is My Name (dir. Craig Brewer)
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Craig Robinson, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Mike Epps, T.I., Tituss Burgess
TIFF synopsis: Eddie Murphy leads this hugely entertaining biopic from Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) with his hilarious and finely honed turn as comedian Rudy Ray Moore, who became a legend in midlife with his outlandish 1970s Blaxploitation chartacter Dolemite.
Uncut Gems (dir. Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, The Weeknd, Idina Menzel
TIFF synopsis: From acclaimed filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie comes an electrifying crime thriller about Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.
Joker (dir. Todd Phillips)
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry, Frances Conroy
TIFF synopsis: Joaquin Phoenix becomes the iconic comic-book villain in director Todd Phillips’ (War Dog, The Hangover) dark chronicle of a vulnerable man’s descent into violent madness.
Marriage Story (dir. Noah Baumbach)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Merritt Wever, Alan Alda
TIFF synopsis: In the latest from Noah Baumbach (The Meyerowitz Stories, Frances Ha), a stage director (Adam Driver) and his actor wife (Scarlett Johansson) struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.
Color Out of Space (dir. Richard Stanley)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Q’orianka Kilcher
TIFF synopsis: In director Richard Stanley’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic horror short story, a meteor falls to earth and lands on the property of a New England family — its increasingly unhinged patriarch played by the one-and-only Nicolas Cage — with insidious, delirious, and psychedelic results.
Western Stars (dir. Thom Zimny, Bruce Springsteen)
Starring: Bruce Springsteen
TIFF synopsis: The incomparable Bruce Springsteen performs his critically acclaimed latest album and muses on life, rock, and the American dream, in this intimate and personal concert film co-directed by Thom Zimny and Springsteen himself.
Bad Education (dir. Cory Finley)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Ray Romano
TIFF synopsis: Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, and Ray Romano star in this fact-based dramedy directed by Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds), about an infamous school-larceny scandal that rocked Long Island in the early aughts.
How to Build a Girl (dir. Coky Giedroyc)
Starring: Beanie Feldstein, Chris O’Dowd, Emma Thompson, Paddy Considine
TIFF synopsis: A working-class teenager (Beanie Feldstein) tries to reinvent herself as a hip London music critic, in this unconventional coming-of-age story based on British author Caitlin Moran’s semiautobiographical novel. Also starring Chris O’Dowd, Emma Thompson, and Paddy Considine.
Radioactive (dir. Marjane Satrapi)
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley
TIFF synopsis: Based on Lauren Redniss’s award-winning graphic novel, Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis) biopic stars Rosamund Pike as two-time Nobel Prize–winning scientist Marie Curie, highlighting the groundbreaking discoveries she made with her husband, Pierre (Sam Riley).
Hope Gap (dir. William Nicholson)
Starring: Annette Bening, Bill Nighy
TIFF synopsis: A together-forever couple (Annette Bening and Bill Nighy) unpack the many complications of splitting up, in Oscar-nominated writer-director William Nicholson’s razor-sharp drama.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (dir. Marielle Heller)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Tammy Blanchard
TIFF synopsis: A jaded journalist (Matthew Rhys) reluctantly accepts an Esquire assignment to profile the children’s television host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), and encounters a profoundly empathetic worldview that changes his life forever.
Tammy's Always Dying (dir. Amy Jo Johnson)
Starring: Felicity Huffman, Anastasia Phillips
TIFF synopsis: Actor-turned-director Amy Jo Johnson’s heart-wrenching second feature, starring Felicity Huffman and Anastasia Phillips, depicts a daughter’s attempt to care for her ornery, ailing mother.
Hustlers (dir. Lorene Scafaria)
Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, Cardi B, Madeline Brewer, Mercedes Ruehl, Trace Lysette
TIFF synopsis: Inspired by a 2015 New York magazine article that went viral, Hustlers follows a savvy crew of former strippers (Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Constance Wu, and Julia Stiles) who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.
Jojo Rabbit (dir. Taika Waititi)
Starring: Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson
TIFF synopsis: Taika Waititi directs a riotous cast — including Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen — in this equally daring, droll, and touching story of a young German boy who discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his home and consults with his imaginary best friend, Adolf Hitler (Waititi).
Harriet (dir. Kasi Lemmons)
Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles
TIFF synopsis: Tony-winning Broadway actor Cynthia Erivo stars in Kasi Lemmons’ inspiring biopic about renowned abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and risked her life to lead others to freedom through the network of safehouses known as the Underground Railroad.
The Goldfinch (dir. John Crowley)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort, Sarah Paulson, Jeffrey Wright, Denis O’Hare, Luke Wilson, Finn Wolfhard
TIFF synopsis: A young boy’s life is forever altered following a terrorist attack at an art museum, in John Crowley’s (Brooklyn) adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Starring Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, and Jeffrey Wright.
Judy (dir. Rupert Goold)
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock
TIFF synopsis: Oscar winner Renée Zellweger delivers a note-perfect performance as Judy Garland during the last year of her life, in Rupert Goold’s (True Story) moving adaptation of the stage play End of the Rainbow.
The Two Popes (dir. Fernando Meirelles)
Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins
TIFF synopsis: In 2013, progressive incoming Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) and conservative outgoing Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) debate the best path forward for the Catholic Church, in this surprisingly funny chamber piece from Oscar-nominated director Fernando Meirelles (City of God).
The Report (dir. Scott Z. Burns)
Starring: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Jon Hamm
TIFF synopsis: In this searing political thriller from screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (Contagion), Adam Driver stars as a dogged investigator who’s tapped by the US Senate to probe the CIA’s use of torture tactics after 9/11.
Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu)
Starring: Alfre Woodard
TIFF synopsis: A death row prison warden (Alfre Woodard) grapples with the psychological fallout of her job following years of executions, in Chinonye Chukwu’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize–winning drama.
Greed (dir. Michael Winterbottom)
Starring: Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Asa Butterfield, Shirley Henderson, Sophie Cookson
TIFF synopsis: Festival favorite Michael Winterbottom skewers the fast-fashion industry in this scathing farce about a retail billionaire (Steve Coogan) whose lavish birthday plans are thrown into disarray by a nearby refugee camp.
Knives Out (dir. Rian Johnson)
Starring: Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Katherine Langford, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer
TIFF synopsis: Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper) assembles an all-star cast — Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield — in this intelligent whodunit about a famed southern detective (Craig) who joins forces with local police to investigate a group of eccentric suspects following the murder of a wealthy crime novelist (Christopher Plummer).
The Lighthouse (dir. Robert Eggers)
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson
TIFF synopsis: Shot on 35mm black-and-white film, this psychological thriller from Robert Eggers (The Witch) follows the slow descent into madness of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote New England island at the turn of the 19th century.
Abominable (dir. Jill Culton)
Starring: Chloe Bennett, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin
TIFF synopsis: Featuring the voices of Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, and Chloe Bennet, this spectacular animated adventure follows a clever teen girl and a Yeti as they rove the Himalayas in the hopes of reuniting the charismatic creature with his family.
True History of the Kelly Gang (dir. Justin Kurzel)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult
TIFF synopsis: A fictionalized re-telling of the life and crimes of infamous 19th-century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, based on Peter Carey’s Booker Prize–winning novel. Starring Russell Crowe and Nicholas Hoult.
Ford v Ferrari (dir. James Mangold)
Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe
TIFF synopsis: James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) directs Matt Damon and Christian Bale in this high-speed biographical drama that pits an underdog team of American automotive engineers against Ferrari in the 1966 “24 Hours of Le Mans” endurance race.
Frankie (dir. Ira Sachs)
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson
TIFF synopsis: An aging actor (Isabelle Huppert) summons her idiosyncratic extended family on a fateful holiday, in Ira Sachs’ thoughtful dramedy co-starring Marisa Tomei, Brendan Gleeson, Jérémie Renier, and Greg Kinnear.
Proxima (dir. Alice Winocour)
Starring: Eva Green, Matt Dillon, Sandra Hüller
TIFF synopsis: Alice Winocour (Disorder, Augustine) builds on her meticulously crafted body of work with this incisive drama, in which an astronaut and mother (Eva Green) grapples with her commitment to her daughter as she undergoes grueling physical training for a one-year stint in space.
The Rest of Us (dir. Aisling Chin-Yee)
Starring: Heather Graham
TIFF synopsis: A single-mother welcomes her ex-partner’s wife and daughter into her life, leading to a new, sometimes tense, family dynamic and an unlikely female friendship, in Aisling Chin-Yee’s humorous and heartbreaking debut.
The Kingmaker (dir. Lauren Greenfield)
Starring: Imelda Marcos
TIFF synopsis: Acclaimed documentarian Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles) aims her lens at Filipino politician and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who, despite disgrace, remains unbowed and enmeshed in her nation’s politics.
First Love (dir. Takashi Miike)
Starring: Masataka Kubota, Nao Ōmori
TIFF synopsis: A doomed boxer and a haunted drug addict find themselves inadvertently caught in the crosshairs of two warring gangs, in the latest from Midnight Madness provocateur Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Audition).