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PETE HAMMOND

ers—but the love shown by TIFF held Peter Farrelly’s film aloft all the way to the Dolby Theatre, even as it suffered slings and arrows along the way. All of which to say, this year’s crop of fresh premieres will all be vying for that coveted prize, hoping its stamp of approval sends them down a similar path. TIFF world premieres that could make a splash in one way or another include A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which could likely grant Tom Hanks some traction in the Best Actor race also; The Goldfinch, an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prizewinning novel; Harriet, the Cynthia Erivo-starring biopic of Harriet Tubman; and the true death row story Just Mercy, which features strong WELL-WORN PATH Producer David Puttnam with his Oscar for Chariots of Fire.

THE PEOPLE'S OSCAR TIFF'S audience award has propelled many movies to the Academy's stage. So, what does this year have in store?

turns from Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Netflix will be premiering Eddie Murphy’s homage to comedian Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite Is My Name, while Fox Searchlight—always an Oscar player—has chosen TIFF to unveil Taika Waititi’s controversial

The Toronto International Film Festival

Chariots of Fire. Still more nominees

Hitler comedy Jojo Rabbit, as well as

is the one fest on the planet that has

come from the People’s Choice pool:

Noah Hawley’s astronaut picture Lucy

been able to transform an audience-

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mis-

in the Sky, which stars Natalie Port-

favored picture into something much

souri, La La Land and Room are among

man. And don’t count out Lionsgate,

more significant in the grand scheme

their number.

with the potential crowd-pleaser that

Of course, there are no guarantees—

is Rian Johnson’s all-star mystery

looks to TIFF’s People’s Choice Award

People’s Choice winners like Eastern

Knives Out, which could be propelled

as a strong harbinger of eventual

Promises and Zatōichi stumbled on

towards awards season if it plays well

Oscar glory—whether for a win or a

their journeys—but it remains as good

in Canada.

nomination—in the Motion Picture

an indicator as any. Canadian film

Academy’s most heavily scrutinized

fans seem to have similar tastes to

premiered elsewhere before making

category: Best Picture.

Academy voters.

it to TIFF’s stage. They include Joker,

Past winners include eventual Best

Last year’s Best Picture winner,

Still, there are more that will have

Judy, The Laundromat, Marriage Story,

Picture champs like 12 Years a Slave,

Green Book, started its journey with a

Motherless Brooklyn, Pain & Glory, Para-

The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire,

People’s Choice win, to the surprise of

site, Honey Boy, The Report, The Two

and American Beauty. As far back as

many. The film screened on the 2018

Popes, Ford v Ferrari, and Uncut Gems.

1981, the award signaled a soon-to-be

festival’s sixth day—far later than many

major Oscar upset when it went to

of the more buzzed-about contend-

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Will TIFF’s influence on Oscar continue for yet another year? Stay tuned. ★

R EX/SHUT T ERSTO CK

of things. Every pundit worth their salt

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

Returning titans, fresh voices, and a definitive start on the road to the Oscars, this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is another cornucopia of cinematic delights. But where to start with TIFF’s expansive program? Our annual TIFF Hotlist is Deadline’s guide to the hottest movies and players coming to Canada this year. 6

Knives Out

Rian Johnson returns from a galaxy far, far away

6

Lucy in the Sky

8

Daniel Radcliffe

Noah Hawley brings us back down to Earth

Plays a very dangerous game in Guns Akimbo

10 Ford v Ferrari

James Mangold's clash of the motorsport kings

10 The Friend

Gabriela Cowperthwaithe rebuilds a broken family

12 H  arriet

Cynthia Erivo tackles the abolitionist legend

18 T  he Goldfinch

The all-star cast bringing Donna Tartt’s novel to life

18 True History of the Kelly Gang

Justin Kurzel goes back to his Australian roots

19 A  Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Marielle Heller combines two national treasures

19 M  arriage Story

Noah Baumbach explores the descent of divorce

20 C  onstance Wu

Tells the tale of a criminal stripper in Hustlers

22 T  IFF Docs

Stories of Russia, Syria, and Imelda Marcos

23 A  lex Wolff

The Hereditary star brings three new films to Toronto

23 G  reed

Michael Winterbottom satirizes the uber-rich

24 S  cott Z. Burns

Examines the heroes righting society’s wrongs

26 S  ound of Metal

Riz Ahmed learns sign language and drumming

26 H  ow to Build a Girl Beanie Feldstein travels to 1990s Britain

27 M  idnight Madness The macabre flavor of a genre-bending section

28 T  he Two Popes

An age-old debate of tradition vs. progress

29 M  osul

The Russo Bros. write exclusively for Deadline

ON THE COVER Cynthia Erivo photographed for Deadline by Shayan Asgharnia

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

Knives Out Rian Johnson steps away from Star Wars with a modern twist on the classic whodunnit BEFORE HE BEGAN enraging Star Wars purists by imagining they might finally be ready to see something actually new in the eighth film of a nine-film story cycle, Rian Johnson was a fast-rising star in the indie world. His 2005 debut Brick, a fast-talking school-set noir, was a Sundance sensation, and 2012’s ingenious sci-fi Looper elevated him to the major leagues, but it was the curio in between, the lesser-seen, lesser-loved The Brothers Bloom (2008), that perhaps best represents the director’s aesthetic—a quirky, talky road movie in which two smooth-talking brothers plot to swindle a naïve millionairess. It’s the gateway film to Knives Out (Special Presentations), his follow-up to The Last Jedi, a drawingroom thriller starring Daniel Craig as a larger-than-life, Poirot-like detective investigating the murder of superstar mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). “I’ve actually been cooking this story up for about a decade,” says Johnson. “I’d always wanted to do kind of a classic whodunit murder mystery, and then about 10 years ago I hit

6

upon the specific hook and I’ve been chewing on it ever since. After coming out of this isolation chamber of making a Star Wars movie, what seemed incredibly appealing to me was making a very dialogue-heavy movie with some great actors that was just people in rooms, talking. I found myself, just as comfort food, going back to a lot of Agatha Christie’s stuff around that time anyway, so it just seemed to make sense.” But despite such archaic influences, Knives Out is very much a film planted firmly in the present day, as Thrombey’s in-fighting family—played by a starry cast featuring Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and others— come under suspicion for the murder, each with their own unique place in today’s divided America. “An important thing about Agatha Christie,” notes Johnson, “was that her books were always kind of caricaturizing British society of the time—not that they were primarily political commentary or anything. It just seemed like a potent moment to do that right now with American society.” —Damon Wise

Lucy in the Sky Noah Hawley launches Natalie Portman into orbit in an existential sci-fi tale FARGO AND LEGION CREATOR NOAH HAWLEY was already one of television’s hardest working talents when he decided to tackle his feature directorial debut. “It was all a bit of a blur,” he says. Lucy in the Sky (Special Presentations) stars Natalie Portman as Lucy Cola, a type-A, high achieving astronaut who struggles on terra firma when she returns from space, disconnecting from her husband and taking up with fellow astronaut Mark Goodwin (Jon Hamm) who, like her, has had a spiritual experience among the stars. It’s loosely based on the true story of NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, who made headlines in 2007 for the attempted murder of Colleen Shipman, whom she suspected of having won the heart of her colleague, former NASA astronaut William Oefelein. “I found myself compelled by the idea of taking a tabloid story and restoring dignity to to those involved,” says Hawley. “Ultimately this isn’t a movie about an affair, it’s about a woman having an existential crisis.” Hawley has a knack for photographically capturing a natural environment’s inherent drama in Fargo and Legion, symbolically highlighting colors and eccentric production designs. Here in Lucy in the Sky, Hawley expands and contracts the aspect ratio to achieve a similar effect. “My goal was to make a movie that was as close to the experience of being her,” he notes. “It’s a full-screen experience when she’s up there and she feels alive in a way that she’s never felt alive before. Then, the moment she returns to Earth, everything feels smaller, and the screen closes to a 4:3 box.” —Anthony D’Alessandro

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

GAME ON As Miles, with guns for hands

Daniel Radcliffe With weapons strapped to his wrists, and a deadly game to be played, the British star has a blast in Guns Akimbo (Special Presentations) BY JOE UTIC HI

Explain those pictures of you in a

and it’s like, “OK, that’s a cool prem-

directed in this swanky, pop-art way.

bathrobe, with the guns strapped

ise, but what are you going to do with

It reminded me a lot of making Swiss

to your wrists.

that?” Three pages into him getting

Army Man and Horns. Every day you get

Yeah, you probably need some context

the guns on for the first time, there’s a

to work, and they would have figured

[laughs]. My character wakes up after

scene with him trying to negotiate how

out weird, cool shots that really let the

having been kidnapped by this awful

to use the toilet in his new situation.

cast and crew and everybody know,

organization called Schism, and he

That was the moment, reading the

“Oh, we’re working on something that

realizes they have bolted two guns to

script, where I was like, “OK, I love this.”

could be really, really cool.”

his hands—including his index fingers,

I had an amazing time working out

which are screwed to the triggers. He’s

how to do lots of very stupid stuff, like

You mention those two films there.

sent into a waking nightmare. Schism

working out how to dress with guns for

It’s definitely of a piece. It seems

pits normal people against each other

hands. Those kinds of challenges were

like you’re drawn to this stuff.

in a fight to the death, and I’m basically

a lot of fun.

I do love finding those scripts. They’re

forced into a fight with a much more

few and far between. I’ve read a lot

experienced fighter called Nix, played

Something for the resume. “Can

of weird stuff that has been weird

by Samara Weaving.

dress with guns for hands.”

for the sake of being weird, but that

Yeah [laughs]. I’m sure there has got to

doesn’t really have anything tying it

be loads of other uses for that, right?

together. But the lovely thing is, I’m

What appealed to you about it? What I loved was that it was just a

at the point now, in my career, where

crazy, very funny action movie. It had a

Where does this film come from

I have a bit of a reputation for liking

great sense of humor. I’ve only seen a

for the director and writer, New

this kind of material, so I’m definitely

rough cut so far; it’s being tinkered with

Zealand's Jason Lei Howden?

on the list of people who get sent

right up to our premiere in Toronto. But

I think this is a film really born out of

those kinds of more out-there scripts.

it goes a hundred miles an hour in the

Jason’s love of ’80s action movies;

You’ll read five that are like, “What

best possible way.

Schwarzenegger and Van Damme—and

is this?” But every so often there’s a

shoot-'em-up games. It’s like a Jason

Guns Akimbo or a Swiss Army Man,

with it is, obviously, you can have

Statham movie directed by Edgar

where you think, This is so crazy it

somebody who has guns for hands,

Wright. Insane action and violence, but

might just work. ★

One of the moments I fell in love

8

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

Ford v Ferrari

Two titans of motorsport clash at Le Mans in James Mangold’s high-speed drama The Set-Up ANGRY AFTER BEING REBUFFED BY AN ATTEMPT to buy Enzo Ferrari’s company outright, Henry Ford II ordered his team to design a car for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France that would unseat Ferrari as the reigning champions, as they'd won the Grand Prix for the previous five years. Ford's team came up with the GT40, a high-end, high-performance car also known as a 'grand tourer', a derivation of the Italian phrase 'gran turismo'.

The Friend Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s movie tells the true story of a family torn apart by grief, and rebuilt by an unflappable friend WHEN GABRIELA COWPERTHWAITE READ the Esquire article on which her new feature, The Friend, is based, she did something she never does. “I posted it on Facebook,” she laughs. “For some reason I just felt compelled to share this story; this way of discussing grief and friendship.” It turned out to be a handy precursor to a conversation she would later have with Scott Free producer Michael A. Pruss, who mentioned that they had purchased the rights to the story and wanted to find out if she’d be interested. “I gave him a screengrab of my post,

THE DESIGNER

THE DRIVER

just to show I was legit.” Cowperthwaite had sewn shockwaves with

Carroll Shelby

Ken Miles

her documentary Blackfish, about practices at

(Matt Damon)

(Christian Bale)

SeaWorld and other marine parks. By compari-

Shelby became a success-

The WW2 veteran from the

son, The Friend is about something much more

ful racing driver at the age

British Midlands moved to

endemically human, as a young family struggles

of 29, but was forced out by

the U.S. after serving seven

with a cancer diagnosis, and their friend—himself

health issues in 1960 after

years of military service. A

afflicted by depression—abandons his life to move

winning several champion-

successful driver from the

in and take care of them during their difficulty.

ships. Shelby went into car

early ’50s onwards, Miles

Starring Jason Segel, Casey Affleck and

design and in 1962 created

joined forces with Carroll

Dakota Johnson, the film is far from bleak,

the AC Cobra, the fastest

Shelby in 1964, test-driving

though. “When you go through something in life,

American-made sports car

the company's cars. Their

you don’t just march towards the inevitability

of the time. The car’s next

successful association was

of death,” Cowperthwaite notes. “Life is living in

iteration, the Shelby Dayto-

cut tragically short however,

the moment, having a hard day, and then having

na Cobra Coupe, fared well

when Miles died tragically

a great day. I want to make sure that I’m treating

in the 1964 Le Mans Grand

in a test-driving accident in

audiences well, and that they’re in safe hands,

Prix, which caught the Ford

1967 at the age of only 47.

even when discussing a subject that’s not in the

company’s attention.

—Damon Wise

least bit safe.” —Joe Utichi

10

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As a British woman in the role of American legend Harriet Tubman, Broadway star and recent film convert Cynthia Erivo has endured controversy ever since her casting was announced, while director Kasi Lemmons doggedly believed in her from the very beginning. As Harriet makes

Harr its TIFF premiere in Gala

Presentations, Antonia Blyth meets Erivo—a woman brave enough to embody a hero.

BECO MING

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riet PHOTOGRAPHS BY

Shayan Asgharnia

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I

t has been almost a year since Cynthia Erivo first stepped into Harriet Tubman’s shoes in Harriet—a biopic about the historical heroine who escaped slavery and freed hundreds of slaves via the Underground Railroad. And

it’s almost a year, too, since Erivo first felt the wrath of Twitter. As a British woman of Nigerian descent, she found herself the recipient of the hashtag #HarrietDeservesBetter, and was repeatedly told her casting was an affront to African American history. Now, on the eve of Harriet’s TIFF premiere, Erivo and director Kasi Lemmons can only wait. Will audiences be swayed by their work? Will it be enough? In the coffee shop where we meet, passing customers pause and eye Erivo, unsure if she’s ‘someone’. This is the space she occupies just now: a person with an extraordinary career, whose casting in Harriet may have caused some notable contention online, but who has not yet fully entered the moviegoing public’s consciousness. It was, in fact, that unknown quality in the relative newcomer that made Lemmons sign onto Harriet. The already-attached Erivo wasn’t “somebody who would not be believable, some Hollywood starlet or something,” Lemmons says. “I don’t know what I was expecting, but when I saw her picture I said [to the producers], ‘All right, let’s talk.’” What Lemmons saw was someone who hadn’t been shoehorned into the role simply for her bankable star power. Although Erivo is a Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner for her

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musical theater work in The Color Purple, her first ever film was last year’s TIFF premiere Widows, followed by Bad Times at the El Royale. She had been plucked from The Color Purple stage by Harriet producer Debra Martin Chase. “We went to sit for a meeting,” Erivo recalls. “And [Debra] said, ‘There’s this project which I think you would be perfect for. It’s Harriet Tubman.’ I was overwhelmed and blown away, and I wanted to see a script. I wanted to make sure that it was given the right reverence, given the right life.” Martin Chase, who’d been looking for “a needle in a haystack”, says that seeing the pre-Tony Erivo in The Color Purple one night had felt almost ordained. “This was before Cynthia had the hype and the more public persona,” she remembers. “I just was like, ‘This is it. I was meant to see this woman, because

she is Harriet Tubman.’” Martin Chase wasn’t focused on nationality or heritage, but on whether Erivo could play the part. “Finding the right actor is key,” she insists. “This movie lives or dies on the shoulders of that actress. And so, I didn’t think about British, I didn’t think about American, I didn’t think about African or Canadian, or whatever. It’s like, who is the right person? And she is the right person.” Still, Erivo empathized with the dissent that came. “I do think there are conversations to be had,” she says. “I think it is coming from a place of people not feeling like they are seen, or feeling like they’ve had enough. And I understand that this is a person that means a lot to a lot of people.” In late August, David Oyelowo—a fellow Brit who had faced similar backlash when he played Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma—spoke out in Erivo’s defense. “For me, the conversation begins and ends with… she’s a great actress,” Oyelowo said. “What is my job as an actor? My job is to inhabit a character where I either convince you of the truth of that character or I don’t. And it begins and ends there.” It's an issue heavily weighted against actors of color, Oyelowo said, noting that no such criticism had been leveled against Meryl Streep for playing Margaret Thatcher, Christian Bale for playing Dick Cheney, or Daniel Day-Lewis for playing Abraham Lincoln. “It’s because of limited opportunities we’ve been afforded historically,” he reasoned, “so there’s this scrabbling for the scraps. But I like to think that we are segueing into a different day where not only potentially is there enough for everyone, but we have the capacity to create a bigger pie for the rest of us.”

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BREAKING OUT Erivo as the legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Martin Chase says she has discussed this issue directly with Oyelowo. “There are so many great white British and Australian actors working today playing all kinds of roles, and there’s been no flack about that,” she says. “If we—if Black people—keep separating ourselves and making it harder, we only hurt ourselves. We are dividing ourselves and diminishing our

16

chances of advancing together.” As the debate raged on Twitter, Erivo focused on the work at hand. She felt the script needed work, and Lemmons turned her attention to drafting a version that filled in the blanks. “That was when it fell into place,” Erivo says. “I think it needed a woman to tell the story of another woman. It needed another woman of color to be able to really speak to

the struggles, the life that Harriet had been through; to not treat her as though she were a woman trying to be a man, but as a woman who had extraordinary abilities, and an extraordinary fight, but still was very much a woman. I think it takes another woman to see that.” For Lemmons, it was about grounding the script in the historical Harriet Tubman. “It couldn’t be

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some kind of adventure film about a woman who happened to be Harriet Tubman,” she says. “It was the Harriet Tubman story. I said to Cynthia, ‘Let’s really try to bring her. Look at pictures of her, look at her eyes, look at her mouth, look at her face.’ It was clear to me the very first day we shot, she had done all the preparation in every way that she could possibly, and she was absolutely ready to inhabit that role.” That first day on set was exhilarating for Erivo. “It was the scene of us running up a hill,” she says. “It’s on the poster. I had that hat with the skirt and the boots on. It was a really great way to start. I felt really badass. We were ready.” The costume—by Hamilton’s Paul Tazewell—was the armor Erivo needed. “Our main goal was to allow the costume to tell as much of a story as the piece did,” she says, “so that we could see her growth through what she was wearing. The first time she puts on the stately dress as a free woman. The first time she has the jacket on and how it feels. The first time she wears that amazing hat. The first time she’s in a general’s uniform. It feels like a progression of her story.” Erivo got so much into character that she stopped looking in the mirror. “The lady who did my hair and the makeup said to me one day, ‘You never asked to see yourself. You don’t ask to see your face. You don’t ask to see any of it. You don’t correct anything.’ I didn’t realize that I was doing that. I wasn’t interested in what the hair looked like, or the makeup looked like. I was more interested in what was happening, what story was being told.” This was, she says, the legacy of her other iconic role—Celie in The Color Purple. “That vanity disappears when you’re playing roles

like that, because it’s not necessary.” Running around the wild woods of Virginia, wearing a corset and a heavy, full skirt, and toting a weighty gun in her hand, Erivo needed every bit of her physical strength. One scene required her to climb a cliff. “It’s a small cliff,” she says, “but it was still rock climbing. In my corset and boots and skirt.” After around 15 takes, Erivo broke down. “I didn’t realize I would be that tired when we shot it. And then, my body gave out.” But it was the emotional side that really cost her. “When we finished, I went to London with my other half. And we were lying in bed and he was like, ‘Are you OK, babe? What’s going on?’ I just realized that I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I hadn’t let go of it, up until that point. I just burst into tears, because I think I had been holding onto it so tightly that my whole body was in protection mode for ages after.” But Tubman’s emotional landscape had been Erivo’s most powerful way in. “The loss that she felt, she could have used to completely back off and go the other direction, but she used it as a force. She used it to help more people. Because she was so deeply connected to God, it didn’t make sense that God would bring her to this place and then she leaves with nothing. She knew it had to be for a reason.” Now, as Erivo awaits the premiere, she knows she gave it her all. “I’m proud of what we’ve done,” she says. “I’m proud of what we have. I’m nervous. I want people to see her, you know?” And her focus is on this positive: Tubman’s story is finally being told. “I want her to come to life,” she says. “I want her to not be this idea of a person, just a superhero by name. I want

I'm proud of what we've done... I'm nervous. I want people to see her, you know?” people to know that she put her life on the line. I want them to see that she was a human being that did that for no other reason than she didn’t believe that it could be possible any other way. That’s what she believed that she was put on the Earth to do.” Erivo hopes the film will be embraced as a way to honor Tubman’s legacy. “I hope that kids get to see it,” she says. “I hope that schools get to see it, and get to use it as part of teaching, and just get to see more of her, because it’s time. It’s time.” Celebrating Tubman isn’t just overdue on screen. Her face was to debut on $20 bills next year, but that has been delayed until 2026. In the meantime, a do-it-yourself Tubman rubber stamp has emerged on the market. Erivo is headed to New York next, and has one such stamp waiting for her there—a gift from a friend. “I love it,” she says, “It’s a wonderful way of resisting. We know it’s right, and whether you print it or not, it’s now inescapable. She’s going to be there anyway. And so now there are these $20 bills floating around the world that have her face on them.” ★

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

The Goldfinch Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winner is hitting the big screen as an all-star odyssey

was about, because I was looking into explosives, Dutch art, American antiques, the architecture of Las Vegas...” The Goldfinch tells the story of Theodore Decker (played by Oakes Fegley as a teenager, then Ansel Elgort as a young man) who suffers unimaginable guilt after a mild transgression at school accidentally leads to the death of his

OVER THE SAME PERIOD IT HAS TAKEN

mother when a terrorist bomb

Quentin Tarantino to make nine films, New

explodes at the Metropolitan

York novelist Donna Tartt has written just

Museum of Art. Sent to stay

three books, and though many would have

with his gambling-addicted

put money on her acclaimed 1992 debut The

father in Las Vegas, Theo

Secret History being the first to make it to the

befriends a young Ukrainian

big screen, her most recent—2013’s Pulitzer

named Boris, who later leads

Prize-winning The Goldfinch (Gala Presenta-

him into danger, involving

tions)—marks her movie debut.

Amsterdam, gangsters, and

Unsurprisingly, for a book that takes up

a stolen painting from the

784 pages and was referred to by the NYT as

Dutch Golden Age.

“dazzling, Dickensian and hypnotizing,” the film

Theo and Boris really bond because they’re

is a sprawling affair, taking place across two timeframes and

actually both loners, noted Aneurin Barnard, who plays the

three cities. Tartt took nearly 10 years to write the book and

older Boris. “I think everyone, at some point in their life, goes

claims that’s about as fast as she can go. “I was writing it so

through a bit of loneliness, or is a bit lost and is trying to find

long that I had three different research librarians helping me,”

their way through life. It’s something that we all struggle with

she has said. “I remember one of them asking what this book

on a day-to-day basis.” —Damon Wise

True History of the Kelly Gang Justin Kurzel emerges from the Hollywood “maelstrom” with a film that brings him back to his roots

tracted by a difficult time on Assassin’s

Carey’s book, but mounting the project

Creed, his first foray into Hollywood

took some effort. Still, he saw the

filmmaking, and his feelings of frustra-

potential to reappraise Kelly, who has

tion in trying to pull it off. “Assassin’s

been the subject of so many films. “He’s

Creed was an incredibly challenging

incredibly notorious and everyone in

film to make,” he says now.

Australia has an opinion about him,”

JUSTIN KURZEL HAD SET THE INDIE

“I just got completely

film world alight with his debut feature

caught up in the mael-

way of identifying somehow

Snowtown, and its follow-up, Macbeth,

strom of that, and for

who we are, in terms of that

seemed to confirm the arrival of a direc-

a whole lot of reasons

kind of false prophecy that he

tor whose vision was unique and stun-

it was a difficult film

was offering. The idea that this

ning. The director returns to his brand of

to write, to make, and

bush ranger had been elevated

cinema this year with True History of the

to land. Suddenly, I was

Kelly Gang (Gala Presentations), which

missing home and just

adapts Peter Carey’s novel about Ned

wanting to reengage

Kelly into a rip-roaring, contemporary-

with all the things

feeling fever dream about outlaws,

I’d missed.”

identity and sexuality. But, in between, Kurzel was dis-

18

Kurzel had fallen for

Kurzel says. “He has become a

to a kind of mythical platform somehow was a key to Australians defining who we are, and where we are as well.” —Joe Utichi

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Director Marielle Heller transformed national treasure Tom Hanks into that other iconic fatherly figure: Mr. Rogers

Marriage Story The inevitable dark side of divorce is seen through Noah Baumbach’s particular lens in his latest movie

DIRECTOR MARIELLE HELLER IS SURPRISINGLY CALM. Having locked her highly-anticipated third feature A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Gala Presentations) six weeks prior to TIFF, she is now waiting for the film—about the friendship between cynical journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) and the iconic master of nice, Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks)—to have its world premiere. Loosely based on Tom Junod’s Esquire magazine article about the public television legend, Heller has spent the past few years rediscovering what made Rogers so spe-

CAN DIVORCE EVER BE PAIN-FREE? That's the

cial. “I remember being a kid and thinking of him as kind of

question in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, which

schmaltzy,” she says. “But as I became a parent, I got reac-

tells a deeply personal story about a director unpick-

quainted with Mr. Rogers as a grownup, and from the point of

ing his marriage to an actress and hitting every single

view of trying to raise a good, healthy child, I’ve come to see

pothole on the road. It’s hard not to see the autobi-

who he really was, which was a radical human who used his

ography for Baumbach, who explored his parents’

time on Earth to try to make the world a kinder place.”

divorce in The Squid and the Whale and went through

Heller had the full cooperation of the Rogers family and

his own experience when his relationship with Jen-

shot on location in Pittsburgh, recreating the Mister Rogers

nifer Jason Leigh ended in 2013.

Neighborhood set in its original studio. “There was a huge

“Of course, I have a real connection to the material,” he says. “But I was also at a time in my life where many of my friends were getting divorced.

responsibility to do it right,” she says. “We all felt like we were in a very privileged position.” While casting Hanks seems like a no-brainer, captur-

I saw it as an opportunity to do something more

ing Rogers’ essence involved work. “Tom has something

expansive, so I did a lot of research. I interviewed a

that we adore, in the same way we adore Mr. Rogers,” says

lot of my friends, and friends of friends, and then

Heller. “The biggest difference is Tom makes everybody in

also lawyers, judges, mediators.”

the room feel great, while Fred was much quieter and totally

He wanted to stress just how best intentions can be diverted by the realities of the legal process. The characters, Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett

comfortable sitting in awkward silence. I had to remind him to connect in this very simple, quiet way.” Heller recalls Hanks texting her one day during filming.

Johansson) both insist they want to be amicable,

“Do you think, by working on this movie, and thinking this

but their lawyers have other ideas. “It makes it very

deeply about Fred, that we will all be forever changed?” he

difficult, no matter how good the intentions are, to

asked. “I replied, ‘Yeah, I do.’” —Stevie Wong

maintain the course that you wanted to maintain in the beginning,” Baumbach says. On the way, the journey reflects the full rainbow of human experience. It turns from dark drama to screwball comedy, legal procedural, even showstopping musical, all on a dime. “It did allow for that balance of tone, and nods to different genres, without it taking you out of the movie in any way.” —Joe Utichi DEADLINE.COM

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist Because it was all run by women, and women of all kinds, it was very freeing, and nobody was competitive or anything. It was why, when there were diva reports, or reports about first billing, Lorene [Scafaria, director] and I were like, “What? This is so not even true.” Cardi B teaches you to lap dance in the movie. Yeah, that was really fun to do. She was such a natural. Not just at being in a strip club—because she has experience in that—but also just in acting, because she’s talented, and she’s very free and she likes to play. It was just having fun being with an actress who is 100% au-

FAIR PLAY Wu and Jennifer Lopez as the seductive Destiny and Ramona

thentically themselves, and really takes ownership of who they are. It was fun watching her teach me how to give a lap

Constance Wu Twin skills of stripping and stealing mask her character’s crushing loneliness in Hustlers (Gala Presentations) BY A N T O N I A B LY T H

dance and learning that there’s an art to it, in a way. What sort of research did you do into that world? I took a lot of classes and lessons. I had a pole installed in my living room that I would practice on a lot. I befriended a lot of different girls from all different

What was it about your character,

explore somebody’s human story, you

types of strip clubs and all different

Destiny, that made you want to

understand why they might make the

backgrounds. So, I got a little bit of the,

take this on?

choices they make. So, I think some

I guess, inside baseball of it. There’s a

Well, at the time, I was looking to play

people might’ve been like, “Did you do

lot of stuff that goes on that I wouldn’t

a character who was really lonely,

this because you wanted to be sexy?”

have known if I hadn’t befriended some

because I think loneliness is pervasive

No. It was about loneliness for me.

of these women, who I’m still friends

in our culture right now. The way that

with now.

Destiny manifests her loneliness at

At its heart, the film is also about

first is by saying, “I don’t want to need

this great friendship between these

How do you feel now about the

anybody, I want to be independent,”

two women.

criminal things those women did?

when really, she does want friends

For me, that’s what it is. I mean, I say

I want audiences to care about these

and people to love her.

it’s loneliness, but it’s also how the

women as people, and not just pre-

loneliness is soothed, which is with this

judge them as occupations. Listen, the

Did the notion of playing a stripper

friendship. That’s what it’s about really.

culture tells boys that they’re worth

give you any pause?

It's friendship.

the size of their bank accounts, and

What’s cool about this movie is

women that they’re worth their sexual-

that we explore the human stories

Amid reports of tension, what was

ity. No wonder both genders are going

behind this preconceived notion of

the atmosphere on set really like?

to exploit that, and sometimes in ways

what an occupation is. When you

It was just really peaceful on set.

that aren’t legal. ★

20

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PHOTOGRAPH BY

Michael Buckner

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

Top Of The Docs TIFF’s most intriguing documentary picks include two tales of Russia, a Syrian follow-up to Last Men in Aleppo, and a detailed view of Imelda Marcos THE DOCUMENTARY LINEUP AT THE 2019 TORONTO

the USSR’s collapse. It’s a companion piece to Polsky’s

International Film Festival promises to impress a very wide

previous 2014 film, Red Army.

range of observers—with the possible exception of one interested party: Vladimir Putin. The Russian president comes under critical scrutiny in Alex

“In Red Army, he was looking at hockey players for the Soviet Union who had come to North America to seek their fortune,” Powers says. “In Red Penguins, he’s looking at a

Gibney’s Citizen K, arriving at TIFF fresh from Venice. The 'K'

reverse trend, which is—after the fall of the Soviet Union—

of the title is Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once believed to be the

American capitalists who went to Moscow to seek their

wealthiest man in Russia, who ran afoul of the Kremlin and

fortune by importing U.S.-style capitalism.”

was dispatched to a Siberian prison. “Putin put him there,” Gibney says.

The 2019 TIFF doc lineup is notable for strong representation by

“It struck me Khodorkovsky’s story

women filmmakers, including Barbara

would be a very interesting way of

Kopple, whose world premiere Desert

talking about how power works in

One centers on the 1979 ill-fated at-

Russia, and in a way, a personal ver-

tempt to rescue American hostages

sion of what Russia’s been through

in Iran. Eva Orner (Bikram: Yogi, Guru,

since the end of Communism.”

Predator), Alla Kovgan (Cunning-

Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad, a

ham) and Eva Mulvad (Love Child)

passionate opponent of the Russian

are among other women directors

military campaign in Syria’s civil war,

premiering new work.

brings The Cave to TIFF, his follow-

Lauren Greenfield comes to TIFF

up to the Oscar-nominated Last

with The Kingmaker, about former First

Men in Aleppo.

Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos.

Thom Powers, TIFF’s chief

“I started filming with her in 2014,”

documentary programmer, calls The

Greenfield says. “My entry point was

Cave “outstanding” and thinks it's a

having looked at wealth for a long

likely awards contender this year. “It’s

time in both my films and photogra-

very much a film about contemporary

phy, and Marie Antoinette charac-

Syria and the seemingly never-ending

ters like Jackie Siegel in The Queen

war that's taking place there,” Power

of Versailles. In a way, that’s what

notes. “But, to me, the film also has

drew me to her first. But the story

a timeless and universal quality. It's

and the character I found was much

almost like watching a Mad Max film

more complex and much more

of people who are literally driven underground because the surface of the Earth has been made uninhabitable by warlords.” Even the TIFF world premiere of Red Penguins may not

about power.” For documentary lovers there’s a generous wealth of films to experience at TIFF this year. Powers says he’s excited to unveil them, noting, “I feel like I’ve been saving up all these

thrill Putin, in so far as Gabe Polsky’s documentary depicts

Christmas gifts for people that they’ll get to unwrap in Sep-

a more hopeful and freewheeling era in Russia right after

tember.” —Matthew Carey

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Alex Wolff

Bad Education (Special Presentations) “Bad Education sets apart the series of darker, punishing films I’ve been a part of the past couple years. It’s really funny and satirical, but at the same time it’s got a poignant truth to it. In all three movies, there’s no clean-cut hero. They’re all a series of antiheroes. I don’t think, in the real story [of a public-school embezzlement scandal],

The Hereditary star breaks down the three new movies he’s bringing to TIFF

there was a character like mine called Nick who was the head of the school newspaper, which ended up being very important in the film.”

Castle in the Ground

Human Capital

(Contemporary World Cinema)

(Special Presentations)

“All three films felt searingly honest and relentlessly brave.

“Ian, in Human Capital, is the last person you’d want

Castle in the Ground has a kind of realism to it, and some

your daughter to start dating. A lot of him is kind and

cynicism, but I felt I strongly connected to these people that

gentle, but he is squeezing all of his emotions. He’s

are all struggling in some way. It’s a real character study. I go

got a bit of an antagonistic streak in him, yet he’s very

to the darkest place that someone can go, and yet the film

innocent and very fragile, and I think that’s often how

has a dreamy, delicious sensibility in the way it was shot. It’s a

it is with the people who are crusty and rough around

hypnotic movie. I dropped almost 30lbs for this opioid drama

the edges; they’re the ones who have the deepest well

in two weeks.”

of vulnerability.” —Anthony D’Alessandro

Greed Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan’s new satire counts the human cost behind fast fashion

Mitchell), whose research into Mc-

debate as to who the character of Mc-

Creadie’s empire-building takes him

Creadie is based on, but the filmmak-

to the sweatshops of Sri Lanka and

ers don’t see it as simply a character

opens his eyes into the flamboyant

piece. Instead, like Adam McKay’s The

businessman’s ruthlessly unethical ap-

Big Short before it, Greed is a darkly

proach to deal-making.

witty look at a difficult subject: the

“It felt like a rich, and quite simple

hidden human cost that lies behind

way of looking at what is quite a

the cheap consumer commodities

complex subject,” says Winterbottom.

that we all take for granted.

“A billionaire who is very hands on and

“It would be a mistake to think it’s

THIRD WORLD POVERTY AND

who has built his business

an attack on a single individual,” says

exploitation of workers is no laughing

through the ’80s,

Coogan. “But it’s certainly a polemic

matter, and yet Michael Winterbot-

’90s and into

tom has achieved the near-impossi-

the noughties.

ble with his latest film, Greed (Special

In a way, he’s

Presentations), a foul-mouthed

someone who

and the unacceptable face

takedown of the super-rich.

represents that

of capitalism. It’s provocative.

whole era—how

Some people will love it and

The framing device is the lavish 60th birthday party being held by Brit-

capitalism has

ish high-street chain store magnate

changed the world

Richard 'Greedy' McCreadie, played by

and how globalization

Steve Coogan, who’s looking to boost

has changed the world.”

his PR after a string of highly public

Even before its world

piece. We want to provoke a discussion about the huge imbalance of wealth in the world

some people will hate it, but hopefully it’ll make them start thinking about stuff that, ordinarily, they wouldn’t

financial scandals. Documenting the

premiere at Toronto, the

think twice about.”

event is his biographer, Nick (David

film had already caused a

—Damon Wise DEADLINE.COM

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

TRUTH TELLER Adam Driver as Daniel J. Jones in The Report.

Scott Z. Burns

The screenwriter and director takes on torture and global financial misdeeds in The Report, and the Steven Soderbergh-directed The Laundromat (both Special Presentations) BY JOE UTIC HI

The Report and The Laundromat

through. So if I write something that’s

truths and instead of people trumpeting

must be the two finest horror mov-

a smart comedy, like The Informant!,

them and realizing that this program

ies of the year.

I then want to do something more

didn’t do what it was supposed to do

[laughs] I do see some similarities

suspenseful, like Contagion.

and that the CIA lied about it, instead of

between them, but I wanted to write

The Report happened first. It prob-

these things being embraced and made

about people who were going to stand

ably happened around 2014, and The

public, the decision was made to maybe

up against a system that was much

Laundromat a year and a half later. It’s

suppress them.

larger than them, at considerable per-

funny, because initially I had an idea

sonal risk. My hope is people will look

to do The Report as kind of a very dark

What about John Doe in the

at a public servant like Dan Jones [in

comedy, and yet it became clear to

Panama Papers case?

The Report] as an American hero who

me, as I started my research, that the

I have no idea who John Doe is. I

invested enough of himself into the

story was so upsetting that I wasn’t

was actually able, though, to have a

system that he was going to get results.

going to be able to do anything about

couple of Skype calls with both Mos-

John Doe is a truthteller too. I realize

it in a darkly comic back-to-school

sack and Fonseca, which was pretty

that both of these people drew me in

kind of way. So that ended up going

amazing. Those conversations really

because they were truthtellers. I think

down a different path.

informed how I wrote them. When

the times in which we live are terrifying

you speak to them, not surprisingly,

to me, but I guess I desperately want

Did you meet and involve the real

they will very quickly point out to

to live in a world where there are still

Dan Jones?

you that what they were doing was

some agreed-upon facts.

I spent a fair amount of time talk-

largely within the boundaries of the

ing to Dan. He was the most helpful

law. There’s just a sort of shared

At the same time, the movies take

in explaining why, after the report

understanding that the system is

very different tones. Why the differ-

had been voted on and approved, it

something that has been created by

ent approaches?

needed to go through another round of

politicians and bankers and lawyers

When I finish a project and move onto

redaction. He was very helpful in terms

specifically to facilitate the very

another, I feel like I want the next thing

of illuminating this incredible odys-

wealthiest among us. This thing is

to be remedial to whatever I’ve gone

sey of how you find out these terrible

built to confuse you. ★

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PHOTOGRAPH BY

Chad Kirkland

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

How to Build a Girl

Booksmart breakout Beanie Feldstein tackles a Brit smash hit THERE CAN BE FEW MORE

She is Johanna in Coky Giedroyc’s

positive signs of industry change than

How to Build a Girl, a British schoolgirl

the filmography of Beanie Feldstein. Her

whose passion for writing leads her

first feature credit was in 2016; it was also

to the pages of the early-’90s music

the last time she worked on a big screen

press. When she discovers that cynicism

with Moran by Giedroyc and produc-

project with a male director. She is now at

sells, she creates the alter ego of Dolly

ers Debra Hayward and Alison Owen.

TIFF with her fifth film, How to Build a Girl

Wilde, eviscerating the bands she’s

“It was one of the most special dinners

(Special Presentations), as she rides high

writing about and exploring her sexual-

of my life,” she says. “I looked around

following the breakout success of Olivia

ity through an especially debauched

at these different women that had a

Wilde’s Booksmart this summer, and she

industry. But the traps of her lifestyle

clear, beautiful vision for the story they

may be the first new star to emerge in a

soon catch up with her. It’s based on a

wanted to tell. I hoped I would get the

fresh era of opportunity.

bestselling book by the British journalist

role, but I had such a remarkable time

Caitlin Moran, who at 16, had lived a ver-

meeting them in any case.”

“It is sort of extraordinary,” she marvels. “I’ve been so lucky to have entered my working life at a time when these

Later she realized they wouldn’t have

sion of Johanna’s life. Feldstein was brought to the U.K. to

invited her if they weren’t going to cast

stories are actually being celebrated, and

audition—and had to quickly get to grips

her. “It’s funny, because I guess they had

created by women themselves, rather

with a thick regional accent. After two

already decided that it was going to be

than being simply about women.”

intensive days, she was invited to dinner

me.” —Joe Utichi

Sound of Metal In Darius Marder’s Platform offering, Riz Ahmed is a hard-of-hearing musician on the brink of breakdown IN DARIUS MARDER’S

kind of genre that Ruben

his deafness, he is gripped

so Ahmed also had to learn

Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed is

exists in is one that is more

by his addiction issues, so

American Sign Language. “I

Ruben, a drummer who loses

about passion than technical

Ahmed also delved into

was very grateful to Jeremy

his hearing in the midst of a

prowess. It’s very much a

researching that. “I’ve been

Stone, who was my ASL

nomadic music tour with Lou

cathartic form of expression

in and around that world and

teacher,” he says. “He was

(Olivia Cooke), and subse-

for him.” The physicality of it

seen up close what addiction

someone at the heart of the

quently slides into addiction.

also proved a full-on workout.

can do to people,” he says.

deaf community in New York

Before filming, Ahmed

“Drumming is great cardio,”

“It’s something that I’ve been

who really welcomed me.”

embarked on an intensive

he says. “I’d be in a sweaty

intimately familiar with.”

six-months of drum lessons.

studio in Brooklyn all day, just

But still, he claims his skills

dripping sweat.”

are not up to scratch. “I

That would be enough

Ahmed was deeply af-

There was a third chal-

fected. “I’m just so grateful

lenge, too. Ruben ultimately

to have made this film," he

embraces his deafness and

says. "It’s one of the special

should not play the drums

work for some actors, but as

finds the kinship he needs

experiences of my life.”

at all,” he says. “Luckily, the

Ruben begins to panic over

within the deaf community,

—Antonia Blyth

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VIOLENT NIGHT A scene from Takashi Miike's gangland tale, First Love.

Dark Descents This year’s selection in TIFF’s most macabre strand, Midnight Madness, promises plenty of scares

Miike is perhaps the biggest name

tum, Jeff Barnaby’s socially conscious horror film about Native American communities fighting a zombie epidemic, and closes with Isaac Nabwana’s Crazy World, a surreal action

in a line-up that promotes discovery

comedy from Uganda’s Wakaliwood.

over tried-and-tested, and it’s telling

Highlights in between include Rose

that the second biggest—Richard

Glass’s Saint Maud, a British psy-

Stanley—has been missing in action

chological thriller about a nurse who

for over 20 years, unable to finish a

becomes convinced she has a direct

THE WORLD OF GENRE CINEMA

feature since his dismissal from The

line to God, and first-timer Keith

has evolved so much lately that some

Island of Doctor Moreau in 1996. His

Thomas’s The Vigil, a chiller set in

form of cross-pollination is practically

adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s Color

Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish commu-

expected these days. Indeed, it comes

Out of Space should be enough to

nity and dealing with Jewish folklore

to something when the most tradition-

draw in the crowds, if only because

and demonology. And for those

al film in this year’s Midnight Madness

it has the tantalizing prospect of

fancying something a little more out

selection comes from Japan’s Takashi

Nicolas Cage starring in the story of a

of the ordinary, there’s experimental

Miike, arguably the world’s most pro-

community driven insane by a falling

filmmaker Matthew Rankin’s inde-

miscuous auteur. Traditional needn’t

meteorite. Another film likely to ben-

scribable The 20th Century, a “bizarro”

mean predictable, however, as his

efit from audience curiosity is Andrew

biopic of William Lyon Mackenzie

latest film First Love—his 103rd—exqui-

Patterson’s Slamdance hit The Vast

King, which, we’re told, “reimagines

sitely proves, being a True Romance-

of Night, a (very) slow-burn Amblin-

the former Canadian Prime Minister’s

style lovers-on-the-lam story in which

esque sci-fi reminiscent of Gareth

early life as a series of abject humilia-

yakuzas fight bloodily with triads over

Edwards’ Monsters.

tions”. It’s not all blood and gore, you

a bag of super-strength heroin.

The strand opens with Blood Quan-

know. —Damon Wise DEADLINE.COM

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TIFF 2019

Hotlist

The Two Popes A pair of Pontiffs debate religion as the future of the Church hangs in the balance

The Set-Up Struggling to reconcile Pope Benedict’s ideas about the Church with his own, Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires—the soon-to-be Pope Francis—resolves, in fact, to resign his position. The Pope then invites Begoglio to his summer residence to discuss an action that threatens to cause a schism in the Catholic Church. As the two men debate, secrets of Bergoglio’s past will re-emerge, and Pope Benedict will face his most difficult decision. It’s Crimson Tide, but with sanctity instead of submarines, as two top-flight actors go toe-to-toe. Anthony McCarten’s script is based on a imagined meeting between the two living Popes, just before Benedict’s resignation.

The Progressive

Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins)

Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce)

Conservative in attitude and a staunch defender of centu-

While he became the first Jesuit Pope in history—as well as

ries-held Catholic doctrine, German Pope Joseph Ratzinger

the first from the Americas—Jorge Bergoglio resisted the no-

became the first Pontiff to resign from the Papacy in more

tion that he might one day become Bishop of Rome. Though

than 500 years. At the time of his meeting with Cardinal Ber-

opposed to same-sex marriage, as Pope he preached the

goglio, though, the idea of such an eventuality was unthink-

Church’s acceptance of all people, regardless of their sexual

able. As a Cardinal himself, Ratzinger strongly condemned,

orientation. He eschews the trappings of the Vatican City’s

and campaigned to change the Church’s attitude to child

wealth and is known for his embrace of the sick and the poor

sexual abuse after inaction on the part of his predecessor

and as a Pope of the people. But his past is marked by his

to the Papacy, John Paul II. But on his election, many felt his

actions during the 1970s’ Dirty War in Argentina, and his feeling

reforms didn’t go far enough, and accused him of suppress-

that he didn’t do enough to protect his fellow priests and pre-

ing investigations, a claim he denied.

vent the human rights abuses of the military junta. —Joe Utichi

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COURTESY OF AG BO ST UDIOS

The Traditionalist


GUEST COLUMN

Mosul's Avengers COURTESY OF AG BO ST UDIOS

The Russo Bros. on their urgency to tell a story about the fight to free Iraq

Joe and Anthony Russo’s follow-up to the box office-breaking Avengers: Endgame is a producing passion project that burned strong. Mosul (Special Presentations), directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan, tells the story of the elite Iraqi SWAT team that made the fight against ISIS truly personal. Writing exclusively for Deadline, the Russo Bros. explain why this Arabiclanguage war movie was the essential next step after their world-beating mastery of the MCU.

THERE ARE ALWAYS THE STORIES YOU WANT TO TELL. But the most important stories are the ones that need to be told. “The Avengers of Mosul,” is a profound New Yorker article written by Luke Mogelson. It has been a long time since we’ve read a piece of journalism that left us in tears at the end. Luke’s article details war on a devastating scale, documenting heartbreak and the resilience of the human spirit DEADLINE.COM

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GUEST COLUMN

NEVER GIVE UP Colonel Jasem (Suhail Dabbach) leads his men in a scene from Mosul.

under the most disturbing and violent

bodied the essential nature of heroism.

the narrative on the most intimate,

circumstances. It offers insight into a

And we embraced their story as a story

personal level. Collaborators who

part of the world we often don’t direct

that needed to be told...

had lived this story. Collaborators

enough of our attention towards. When you look at pictures of

We endeavored to employ this

who had had firsthand experience

narrative as an opportunity to bridge

with this conflict. Collaborators

Mosul, Iraq, you see a gut-wrenching

cultures on the film production front,

who called Iraq home. This film

portrait of modern warfare. A city

which was diligently addressed both

could not have been made without

laid waste, drenched in grief and

in front of and behind the camera.

their contributions, nor without the

suffering. Mosul is the true story

But more importantly, we wanted to

most dedicated commitment to an

of the Nineveh SWAT team, who

activate the audience. We wanted to

Iraqi perspective. This is why the

combed the streets of their broken

make them aware of the tragic conflict

story is told completely in Arabic. To

city searching for loved ones, and

tearing apart this corner of our planet.

honor the narrative, and to honor the

spending their blood trying to pry

And we were lucky enough to find a

members of Nineveh SWAT.

their hometown from the deadly grip

uniquely equipped and supremely tal-

of ISIS. The only criteria for joining

ented writer/director in Matt Carnahan,

years ago, we did it with the inten-

Nineveh SWAT was that you had to

who was wholly committed to express-

tion of finding projects that inspire

have been injured by ISIS, or, more

ing this point of view.

us. Projects that moved us.

harrowingly, had someone you love

When we launched AGBO three

Authenticity was critical to all of

We set a very clear agenda at our

murdered at the hands of ISIS. Sadly,

us. We wanted to portray this story

company that these were the types

it was not difficult criteria to fulfill.

with as much specificity as possible.

of stories that we wanted to tell.

And the only way to do that was to

That these were the types of stories

enlist collaborators who understood

that needed to be told... ★

As detailed in the pages of the New Yorker, the Nineveh SWAT team em-

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For T


A D O C U M E N TA R Y FILM SCREENING SERIES SEPTEMBER 17 - DECEMBER 10 THE LANDMARK 1 0 8 5 0 W P I C O B LV D, LO S A N G E L ES FOR MORE INFO AND TO RSVP VISIT: W W W. F O RT H E LOVEOFD OC S.D EAD L INE.C OM

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FINAL FRAME

have steered to calmer waters, seeming to close their doors to filmmakers with #MeToo-related baggage. Why the split? America’s proximity to these movements could be a factor. Toronto and Sundance have also been at the forefront of a global drive for greater diversity within festival programming ranks. Simultaneously, and seamlessly, they have increased

XXXXXXXX xxxx xxxxxxxxxx

the number of women and ethnic

CONTENTIOUS From left: Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Nate Parker.

minorities in their programs.

ATLANTIC CROSSINGS

what is the purpose of a festival, and to

How are festivals on both sides of the pond responding to controversial directors in the #MeToo era?

movies directed by women. If you look at

BY A N D R E A S W I S E M A N

lens you’re looking through. It’s nuanced.”

The divergence begs the question: what extent should one take into account a filmmaker’s private life? “Alberto is not buying into optics,” one leading festival executive told us. “But it’s a fantasy that there are not enough the A-list European festivals, they tend to be run by older, white, men. It’s about the To some degree, this transatlantic film

A FEW YEARS AGO, A POLITICALLY

Barbera has stirred controversy by pro-

festival division mirrors a broader indus-

charged movie starring and directed by

gramming Parker’s feature, as well as the

try divide across continental lines. After it

Nate Parker and championed by Spike

new film by Roman Polanski, and only

was ditched by Amazon, U.S. distribu-

Lee would have all-but walked into TIFF.

two women directors in Competition.

tors have so far steered clear of Allen’s A

Cannes, dogged by gender issues in

Rainy Day in New York, which we hear is

The cultural landscape has been radi-

recent editions, feted polarizing actor

very good. European buyers have been

cally and vitally reshaped by the #MeToo

Alain Delon in May, one year after wel-

less shy, and Allen has found a happy

and Time's Up movements. As part of

coming back Lars von Trier. Deauville

home to shoot his next movie in Spain.

that reshaping, a coterie of prominent

has just revealed that it will open with

Polanski’s movie, An Officer and a Spy,

filmmakers with checkered pasts have

Woody Allen’s latest, A Rainy Day in

was pieced together in Europe relatively

become lightning rods for industry

New York, after the film (and filmmak-

easily. It too is said to be a strong film;

debate and division. This year more

er) was shunned by Amazon in a high-

Venice has given it a primetime weekend

than ever, we are seeing a transatlantic

profile divorce. Berlin quietly hosted

slot. Still again, no U.S. buyer has bitten.

schism between film festivals over how

Casey Affleck’s directorial debut Light

to handle these acclaimed artists, each

of My Life earlier this year—San Sebas-

latest crucible moment. In a bruising

of whom have very different backstories.

tián is the only other major festival due

market for authored indie films, #MeToo

to host it (though Affleck stars in the

question marks can be enough to

TIFF-bound The Friend).

frighten off potential suitors. But there

Despite Toronto having programmed Parker’s The Birth of a Nation in 2016, his new movie American Skin, about police

There are no easy answers in film’s

But as Venice walks back into the

are still those out there willing to take a

violence and racism in America, will

eye of the storm, the North American

risk on the art and—whisper it—even on

debut at Venice. Festival chief Alberto

festivals like Sundance and Toronto

the artist. ★

32

R EX/SHUT T ERSTO CK

Not this year.

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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R EX/SHUT T ERSTO CK

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Life meets style. Introducing the first-ever Hyundai Palisade with available seating for 8.

2020 Palisade Limited shown with optional features. 8-passenger seating available on SE and SEL trims only. Hyundai is a registered trademark of Hyundai Motor Company. All rights reserved. Š2019 Hyundai Motor America.

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Profile for Deadline Hollywood

Deadline Hollywood - TIFF Magazine - 09/05/19  

Deadline Hollywood - TIFF Magazine - 09/05/19