Diablo Cody pic to screen at Midnight Madness
The Toronto Film Festival has snagged the world preem of “Jennifer’s Body,” starring Megan Fox and helmed by Karyn Kusama (“Girlfight”), to open its popular genre program Midnight Madness Sept. 10.Script, about a murderous high-school cheerleader, was penned by Diablo Cody. Twentieth Century Fox opens the pic wide Sept. 18. The fest announced Midnight Madness’ 10-strong lineup, a slate of 17 docs, the experimental Wavelength program and two new People’s Choice awards — for docus and Midnight Madness pics — Tuesday morning. Midnight world preems include: “George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead” (released by E1 in Canada), which programmer Colin Geddes calls “a social parable that happens to have zombies”; helmer Rick Jacobson’s campy “Bitch Slap,” with action orchestrated by Kiwi stunt legend Zoe Bell (“Xena”); and Michael J. Bassett’s 16th-century swashbuckling “Solomon Kane,” based on a story by Robert E. Howard (“Conan”). Co-helmers Michael and Peter Spierig’s “Daybreakers” (Lionsgate), a sci-fi vampire actioner starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill, also world preems at midnight. International preems include Sean Byrne’s Aussie prom horror “The Loved Ones” and Japanese comedy superstar Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “Symbol,” while Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s “A Town Called Panic” (the first stop-motion pic to preem at Cannes) and Spanish virus horror “[REC] 2” get their North American preems. Martial arts epic “Ong Bak 2” receives its Canuck preem. Hot docs include the world preems of “Collapse,” a portrait of radical futurist Michael Ruppert from helmer Chris Smith (“American Movie”); Carter Gunn and Ross McDonnell’s debut “Colony,” about U.S. beekeepers coping with colony collapse disorder; Andrew James and Joshua Ligairi’s “Cleanflix” (scandals erupt when Utah entrepreneurs clean up Hollywood pics for Mormon audiences); Don Argott’s art-world whodunit “The Art of the Steal”; and Emmett Malloy’s intimate rock docu “The White Stripes Under the Great White Northern Lights.” This year’s box-office success of “Earth” may turn eyes toward Nick Stringer’s underwater odyssey “Turtle: The Incredible Journey,” while Erik Gandini’s look at Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire, “Videocracy,” should entice buyers. “More than any previous year, this year’s documentaries play off the headlines,” said programmer Thom Powers, who cites “Bassidji,” Mehran Tamadon’s immersive three-year journey to understand Iranian extremists, as just one of several docus “ahead of the curve.” Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein’s (” Gunner Palace “) “How to Fold a Flag,” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith’s “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” Mark Levin’s garment town saga “Schmatta: Rags to Riches” and Mexican legal thriller “Presumed Guilty,” co-directed by attorneys Roberto Hernandez and Geoffrey Smith, also world preem in Toronto. The remaining doc slate includes: Jeff Stilson’s HBO-produced Chris Rock-starrer “Good Hair” (Roadside), Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medtra’s “Inferno,” Zippi Brand Frank’s “Google Baby,” Vikram Jayanti’s “Snowblind” and Leanne Pooley’s “The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls.” Canuck and additional high profile U.S. and international docs will be announced later this summer. Wavelengths’ six programs of 25 avant-garde films and video includes new works by Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Snow, Jean-Marie Straub and Lisandro Alonso, and the world preem of celebrated Chicago-based helmer Ben Russell’s feature bow “Let Each One Go Where He May.” The Toronto Film Festival runs Sept. 10-19.