Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer,” reuniting him with Oscar winner Denzel Washington, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Fuqua is in Pittsburgh now with “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams and others.
In other festival news just announced, “Foxcatcher” will have its Canadian premiere at the event. It was filmed in Western Pennsylvania but set elsewhere.
“The Equalizer” stars Washington as a man who believes he has put his past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But then he meets a girl under the control of violent Russian gangsters, comes out of self-imposed retirement and finds his thirst for justice is back.
The cast also includes Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.
Directed by Oscar nominee Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher” is about John du Pont, great-great-grandson of E.I. du Pont, the industrialist who founded the chemical company.
In January 1996, he shot and killed David Schultz, a 1984 gold medal winner who came to live and train at the state-of-the-art Foxcatcher National Training Center that du Pont had built on his 800-acre property in Newtown Square, Pa.
Steve Carell, already being touted as a likely Oscar nominee, plays the chemical fortune heir, Mark Ruffalo is the slain wrestler and Channing Tatum is his brother and a champion wrestler in his own right. (Carell and Tatum pictured below.)
The festival, Sept. 4-14, today announced 13 galas and 46 special presentations.
Galas also include: “Black and White,” “Haemoo,” “The Judge,” “A Little Chaos” (closing night film), “Maps to the Stars,” “The New Girlfriend,” “Pawn Sacrifice,” “The Riot Club,” “Samba,” “This Is Where I Leave You” and “Wild.”
Here are descriptions of the galas, which get splashy red-carpet treatment, courtesy of the festival:
Black and White, directed by Mike Binder, USA, World Premiere
Black and White is the story of a widowed grandfather who is left to raise his bi-racial granddaughter. When the little girl’s paternal grandmother seeks custody, a bitter legal battle ensues that forces the uneasy family members to have an honest conversation about life, death, anger and America’s racial divide. Starring Academy Award-winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, as well as Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Ehle, Gillian Jacobs, Bill Burr, Andre Holland and Jillian Estell.
The Equalizer, Antoine Fuqua, USA, World Premiere
In this big-screen adaptation of the cult ‘80s TV show, McCall believes he has put his past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets Teri, a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by — he has to help her. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to extract vengeance upon anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer. Starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.
Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller, USA, Canadian Premiere
Based on true events, this film tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller.
Haemoo, Shim Sung-bo, South Korea, International Premiere
The ragtag crew of a fishing boat takes on a dangerous commission to smuggle a group of illegal immigrants from China to Korea, in this tense high-seas adventure co-scripted by South Korean genre-movie guru Bong Joon-ho. Starring Kim Yoon-seok and Park Yoo-chun.
The Judge, David Dobkin, USA, World Premiere
Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth, and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard and Billy Bob Thornton.
Closing Night Film, A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman, United Kingdom World Premiere
A landscape gardener with a taste for the unconventional is invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles. As she battles with the weather, the perilous rivalries at the court of Louis XIV and her own private demons, she finds herself drawn closer to the formality and enigma of the architect who hired her. Starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Alan Rickman and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg, Canada/Germany, North American Premiere
David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.
The New Girlfriend (Une nouvelle amie), Francois Ozon, France, World Premiere
When her best friend Lea dies, Claire falls into a deep depression. However, after making a surprising discovery about her late friend’s husband, she’s given a new lease on life. Starring Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier and Raphael Personnaz.
Pawn Sacrifice, Ed Zwick, USA,, World Premiere
In this remarkable true story set in the height of the Cold War, chess legend Bobby Fischer is locked in a gripping championship clash with the Soviets as he struggles against his own psychological demons while the whole world anxiously awaits the outcome. Starring Tobey Maguire, Peter Sarsgaard and Liev Schreiber.
The Riot Club, Lone Scherfig, United Kingdom, World Premiere
A privileged young man is inducted into the exclusive, debaucherous company of Oxford’s elite “Riot Club,” in this scathing dissection of the British class system. Based on the hit play Posh, the film stars Natalie Dormer, Max Irons, Sam Clafin, Jessica Brown Findlay and Douglas Booth.
Samba, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, France, World Premiere
Samba migrated to France 10 years ago from Senegal, and has since been plugging away at various lowly jobs. Alice is a senior executive who has recently undergone a burnout. Both struggle to get out of their dead-end lives — Samba’s willing to do whatever it takes to get working papers, while Alice tries to get her life back on track — until fate draws them together. Balancing light-hearted moments with heavier emotion, Samba is a story about two strangers on a new path to happiness. Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Sy and Tamar Rahim.
This is Where I Leave You, Shawn Levy, USA, World Premiere
Shawn Levy’s dramatic comedy follows four adult siblings who return home after their father’s death to spend a week with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and frayed relationships among those who know and love them best, they reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways. Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll and Kathryn Hahn.
Wild, Jean-Marc Vallée, USA, International Premiere
After years of reckless behaviour, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed makes a rash decision. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. Wild powerfully reveals Cheryl’s terrors and pleasures as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens and ultimately heals her. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann and Kevin Rankin.