Denzel Washington will travel to the Toronto International Film Festival for the world premiere of “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
The film’s inclusion in the gathering demonstrates that Sony Pictures believes it has an Oscar contender on its hands. Washington has nabbed two Oscar acting prizes for “Glory” and “Training Day.” He has seven nominations, including one for last year’s “Fences.” He could find himself back in the best actor race this year for his performance as an idealistic defense attorney. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” Sony bought the rights to the film at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival when it was then entitled “Savage City.”
There are number of awards contenders hitting Toronto this year, including Joe Wright’s “The Darkest Hour,” Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” Angelina Jolie’s “￼￼First They Killed My Father,” and Andy Serkis’ “Breathe.”
Washington was on hand at last year’s festival for “The Magnificent Seven,” that year’s opening night film. He also made the trek north for the 2014 premiere of “The Equalizer.” Dan Gilroy, who wrote and directs “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” premiered his directorial debut, “Nightcrawler,” at the festival in 2014.
“Roman J. Israel, Esq.” is a thriller set in the Los Angeles criminal court system. In the film, Washington’s character undergoes a professional crisis after a series of events challenge the activism that has animated his life in the law. Colin Farrell costars as the an attorney who tempts Israel to join his white shoe firm.
The cast also includes Carmen Ejogo, Lynda Gravatt, Amanda Warren, Hugo Armstrong, Sam Gilroy, Tony Plana, DeRon Horton and Amari Cheatom.
The festival runs from September 7 to 17, 2017.