Toronto Fest to Open With Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘Demolition’; ‘Danish Girl,’ ‘Martian’ in Lineup

The Martian Matt Damon
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Demolition,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts, will open the 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival. Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” with Matt Damon, and Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” were also among the world premieres unveiled Tuesday during the festival’s first major announcement.

In addition to more than a dozen Gala titles, more than 30 Special Presentations films were also revealed, with Eddie Redmayne’s transgender movie “The Danish Girl,” directed by Tom Hooper; Brian Helgeland’s “Legend,” starring Tom Hardy (twice) as the Kray Brothers; and Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass,” with Johnny Depp, in the star-studded lineup.

“Where to Invade Next,” in which Moore tells the Pentagon he will do the invading for America from now on, was filmed in various countries under the radar of the global media.

With the bulk of Toronto’s slate still under wraps, this first blast reflects the fest’s high-street persona in its mix of awards-season contenders (world-premiering pics alongside Sundance, Cannes and other fest-circuit notables), hot-topic cinema, high-profile Canadian titles, foreign films likely to connect with North American audiences and star power.

Gala screenings will include world premieres of Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall Riots film “Stonewall”; Stephen Frears’ biopic “The Program,” in which an Irish sports journalist (Chris O’Dowd) toils to expose the use of performance-enhancing drugs by cyclist Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster); Peter Sollett’s bio-drama “Freeheld,” about a police officer (Julianne Moore) with terminal cancer battling to secure benefits for her same-sex partner (Ellen Page); Matt Brown’s biopic “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” starring Dev Patel as a Madras-born math genius and Jeremy Irons as his professor; and Gavin Hood’s military thriller “Eye in the Sky,” starring Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul.

Wayne Blair’s “Septembers of Shiraz,” a family story set during the Iranian revolution starring Adrien Brody and Salma Hayek, and Jocelyn Moorhouse’s “The Dressmaker,” starring Kate Winslet as a glamorous woman who wields her sewing machine to transform the women in her rural Australia home, are also in the lineup.

New Canadian pics with world debuts in the Gala competition include Deepa Mehta’s bhangra-fueled gangster thriller “Beeba Boys,” starring Randeep Hooda; Jon Cassar’s “Forsaken,” starring Demi Moore, Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland in a story of a retired killer gunning to repair his relationship with his father; and “Hyena Road,” written and directed by Paul Gross, who stars alongside Rossif Sutherland in a modern warfare story set in Afghanistan.

Gala will also unspool the international premiere of Helgeland’s “Legend,” starring Hardy as identical twin Brit gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray, and the North American debut of Atom Egoyan’s “Remember,” starring Christopher Plummer as man tracking down the Nazi guard who murdered his family.

Special Presentations will also pack star power: “Trumbo” stars Bryan Cranston as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and Helen Mirren as columnist Hedda Hopper, while “The Lady in the Van,” based on Allan Bennett’s award-winning play, stars Maggie Smith as the eccentric homeless woman who camped out on Bennett’s driveway for 15 years. And Jason Bateman directs and stars alongside Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken in the mystery “The Family Fang.”

Other pics world-premiering in the strand include Rebecca Miller’s modern romantic comedy “Maggie’s Plan,” starring Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and Greta Gerwig; Terence Davies’ “Sunset Song,” about a Scottish farmer’s daughter (Agyness Deyn) coming of age in the early 1900s; Claude Lelouch’s “Un Plus Une,” starring Jean Dujardin as a film composer who travels to India; Florian Gallenberger’s “Colonia,” starring Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl as a couple entangled in the 1973 Chilean military coup; Jonás Cuarón’s thriller “Desierto, ”about a band of immigrants pursued by a deranged vigilante; Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s “Families,” starring Mathieu Amalric; Meghna Gulzar’s ripped-from-the-headlines true-crime story “Guilty,” and Leena Yadav’s “Parched.”

And “Omar” helmer Hany Abu-Assad brings the story of the first Palestinian to sing his way to winning Arab Idol to the bigscreen in “The Idol,” which stars Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki.

Notable pics making their North American bows in Special Presentations include Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” Paolo Sorrentino’s Karlovy Vary audience winner “Youth,” Hooper’s “The Danish Girl,” Jia Zhang-ke’s “Mountains May Depart,” Tim Godsall’s “Len and Company” and Joachim Trier’s “Louder Than Bombs.”

The 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 10 to 20.

“Beeba Boys,” director Deepa Mehta, Canada (World Premiere)
“Forsaken,” director Jon Cassar, Canada (World Premiere)
“Freeheld,” director Peter Sollett, USA (World Premiere)
“Hyena Road,” director Paul Gross, Canada (World Premiere)
“Lolo,” director Julie Delpy, France (World Premiere)
“Legend,” director Brian Helgeland, United Kingdom (International Premiere)
“The Man Who Knew Infinity,” director Matt Brown, United Kingdom (World Premiere)
“The Martian,” director Ridley Scott, USA (World Premiere)
“The Program,” director Stephen Frears, United Kingdom (World Premiere)
“Remember,” director Atom Egoyan, Canada (North American Premiere)
“Septembers of Shiraz,” director Wayne Blair, USA (World Premiere)
“Stonewall,” director Roland Emmerich, USA (World Premiere)
“The Dressmaker,” director Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia (World Premiere)
“Eye in the Sky,” director Gavin Hood, United Kingdom (World Premiere)

“Anomalisa,” directors Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, USA (Canadian Premiere)
“Beasts of No Nation,” director Cary Fukunaga, Ghana (Canadian Premiere)
“Black Mass,” director Scott Cooper, USA (Canadian Premiere)
“Brooklyn,” director John Crowley, United Kingdom/Ireland/Canada (Canadian Premiere)
“Colonia,” director Florian Gallenberger, Germany/Luxembourg/France (World Premiere)
“The Danish Girl,” director Tom Hooper, United Kingdom/Sweden (North American Premiere)
“The Daughter,” director Simon Stone, Australia (North American Premiere)
“Desierto,” director Jonás Cuarón, Mexico (World Premiere)
“Dheepan,” director Jacques Audiard, France (North American Premiere)
“Families,” director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, France (World Premiere)
“Guilty,” director Meghna Gulzar, India (World Premiere)
“I Smile Back,” director Adam Salky, USA (Canadian Premiere)
“The Idol,” director Hany Abu-Assad, United Kingdom/Palestine (World Premiere)
“The Lady in the Van,” director Nicolas Hytner, USA (World Premiere)
“Len and Company,” director Tim Godsall, USA (North American Premiere)
“The Lobster,” director Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/ United Kingdom/ Greece/ France/ Netherlands (North American Premiere)
“Louder than Bombs,” director Joachim Trier, Norway/France/Denmark (North American Premiere)
“Maggie’s Plan,” director Rebecca Miller, USA (World Premiere)
“Mountains May Depart,” director Jia Zhang-ke, China/France/Japan (North American Premiere)
“Parched,” director Leena Yadav, India/USA (World Premiere)
“Room,” director Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland/Canada (Canadian Premiere)
“Sicario,” director Denis Villeneuve, USA (North American Premiere)
“Son of Saul,” director László Nemes, Hungary (Canadian Premiere)
“Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy, USA (Canadian Premiere)
“Sunset Song,” director Terence Davies, United Kingdom/Luxembourg (World Premiere)
“Trumbo,” director Jay Roach, USA (World Premiere)
“Un plus une,” director Claude Lelouch, France (World Premiere)
“Victoria,” director Sebastian Schipper, Germany (Canadian Premiere)
“Where To Invade Next,” director Michael Moore, USA (World Premiere)
“Youth,” director Paolo Sorrentino, Italy/France/United Kingdom/Switzerland (North American Premiere)
“The Club,” director Pablo Larraín, Chile (North American Premiere)
“The Daughter,” director Simon Stone, Australia (North American Premiere)
“The Family Fang,” director Jason Bateman, USA (World Premiere)
“Office,” director Johnnie To, China/Hong Kong (International Premiere)
“Son of Saul,” director Laszlo Nemes, Hungary (Canadian Premiere)
“Summertime,” director Catherine Corsini, France (North American Premiere)