Hollywood’s trans-Atlantic kudos campaigns are in full swing as a long list of contenders make the trek to next week’s Times BFI London Film Festival.
The 51st edition kicks off Wednesday with the U.K. gala preem of “Eastern Promises,” tubthumped by helmer David Cronenberg and thesps Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl.
They start the charge of the Hollywood contingent that includes Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Paula Wagner, Ang Lee, Halle Berry, Wes Anderson, Sean Penn, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola and Sam Mendes.
All will be making the most of the chance to talk up their pics in the early days of awards season Stateside.
While the trend of Yanks trekking to Blighty during awards season is not new, the number of names so early in the season is noteworthy.
On Nov. 1, helmer Anderson, actor-scripter Schwartzman and producer-scripter Coppola will be joined by thesps Amara Karan and Camilla Rutherford at the closing-night gala screening of “The Darjeeling Limited.”
As previously announced, the world preem of “Lions for Lambs” at the Odeon Leicester Square will draw Cruise, Streep, Andrew Garfield and Michael Pena, alongside actor-director Redford and producer Wagner.
The London mayor’s gala screening of “Lust, Caution” will be introduced by director Lee and leading newcomer Tang Wei.
Among other guests at the 16-day event will be Berry, director Susanne Bier and producer Mendes for “Things We Lost in the Fire”; helmer Todd Haynes, producer Christine Vachon, and thesps Ben Whishaw and Charlotte Gainsbourg for “I’m Not There”; and director Penn and lead thesp Emile Hirsch for “Into the Wild.”
Director Jason Reitman will be joined by “Juno” cast member Allison Janney and screenwriter Diablo Cody; thesps Marc Evans, Livia Giuggioli and Colin Firth will attend the world preem of “In Prison My Whole Life.”
John Cusack will join director James C. Strouse for “Grace Is Gone”; Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden appear with helmer Kevin Lima for the U.K. premiere of “Enchanted.”
Watts will also attend the screening of “Funny Games” later in the fest along with co-stars Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet.
Helmer Tamara Jenkins will introduce “The Savages” with star Laura Linney, who will also be the subject of an onstage Screen Talk, as will Anderson.
Master-class guest Steve Buscemi will present the local premiere of “Interview” with thesp Sienna Miller, while “Mister Lonely” cast members Anita Pallenberg, James Fox and Samantha Morton will introduce the pic with helmer Harmony Korine, who is also a master-class participant.
Director Paul Greengrass will be the subject of an onstage interview and the recipient of the Variety U.K. achievement in film award, while David Lynch and Donovan host an evening discussing meditation, consciousness and creativity.
British directing talent will be out in force for their screenings, including Nick Broomfield with “Battle for Haditha,” Penny Woolcock with “Exodus,” Kim Longinotto for “Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go” and Asif Kapadia with “Far North.” Richard Attenborough will introduce “Closing the Ring,” Garth Jennings will present “Son of Rambow: A Home Movie” and Sarah Gavron will attend the local premiere of “Brick Lane.”