10 September, 2010
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
While film professionals are here at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to buy and sell films in a still soft market, for the Toronto public the big attraction are the movie stars who will be walking the red carpet in the coming 10 days. Toronto is a bit star-crazy, with all the local television stations highlighting their TIFF coverage and promising viewers up-close-and-personal access with the movie stars who are huddling here. Every newspaper and magazine viewed on newstands features TIFF on its front page. The Festival is THE event in this town and interest in the movie stars coming here is at a fever pitch.
The list of movie superstars is pretty impressive. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart will wrestle with the death of a child in RABBIT HOLE, the latest film from indie provocateur John Cameron Mitchell (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH). British thespian James McAvoy stars as an attorney defending Robin Wright in the Robert Redford-directed historical drama THE CONSPIRATOR. Oscar winner Jennifer Conneley is back in top form as a mentally ill mother in WHAT'S WRONG WITH VIRGINIA, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's (MILK) directorial debut.
Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor co-star as father and son in BEGINNERS by director Mike Mills. Taking on a rare serious role, Will Ferrell toplines in EVERYTHING MUST GO, a drama about a man whose life is falling apart around him, directed by Dan Rush. Mickey Rourke, who wowed audiences with THE WRESTLER at the 2008 TIFF, plays a down-on-his-luck trumpeter in PASSION PLAY, directed by Mitch Glazer.
Natalie Portman stars as a ballerina in director Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN, which is a major contender for top prizes at the Venice Film Festival, where it made its world premiere debut last week. Double Oscar winner Hilary Swank is back with a vengeance in the drama CONVICTION, directed by actor-turned-director Tony Goldwyn. Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis create comic sparks in IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, directed by the team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Josh Hartnett and Woody Harrelson bring macho charm to BUNRAKU, director Guy Moshe's mashup of westerns and samurai films. Add to this list actor Keanu Reeves who is seriously comedic in HENRY'S CRIME, directed by Malcolm Venville.
Despite the dense cloud cover hovering overhead, the stars are in full view at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. For more information on the Festival, visit: www.tiff.net