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'Joker' and Mr. Rogers drama among galas set for TIFF

Last Updated Jul 23, 2019 at 12:59 pm EDT

In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, a view of a festival sign appears on Day 1 of the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

A standalone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, a drama featuring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, and a concert-style film from Bruce Springsteen are among the projects bound for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Organizers have unveiled the first slate of galas and special presentations for this year’s festival, which runs Sept. 5-15.

Galas include the highly anticipated psychological thriller “Joker” by “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips, starring Phoenix as the titular maniacal DC Comics character and Robert De Niro as a talk-show host who influences him.

Meanwhile, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” by Marielle Heller stars Hanks as the aforementioned children’s television entertainer alongside Matthew Rhys as a journalist assigned to profile him.

And Springsteen will have a gala with “Western Stars” by Thom Zimny, a performance documentary film in which he plays his album of the same name.

Last week another major music-focused film was announced for TIFF: “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band” by Daniel Roher, which will make history as the first Canadian-made documentary to open the festival.

The closing night film will be the biographical film “Radioactive” by Marjane Satrapi, starring Rosamund Pike as physicist and chemist Marie Curie.

“Radioactive” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” are among several star-studded biographical films on the docket.

Others include Rupert Goold’s “Judy,” starring Renee Zellweger as singer and actress Judy Garland.

“Ford v Ferrari” stars Matt Damon as American car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles.

In “Just Mercy” by Destin Daniel Cretton, Michael B. Jordan plays renowned civil rights defence lawyer Bryan Stevenson in a cast that also includes Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson.

Russell Crowe, Charlie Hunnam, Nicholas Hoult, and George MacKay are among the stars in Justin Kurzel’s outlaw story “True History of the Kelly Gang.”

And Eddie Murphy stars as comedian Rudy Ray Moore in “Dolemite Is My Name” by Craig Brewer.

Over 50 films were unveiled for 2019 TIFF on Tuesday, many of them with acclaimed directors and early Oscar buzz.

Other notables include “The Laundromat” by Steven Soderbergh, starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas in a story of journalists probing the so-called Panama Papers money laundering scandal.

John Crowley directs “The Goldfinch,” starring Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman in a tale of a young man caught up in art forgery.

The 1950s crime drama “Motherless Brooklyn” counts Edward Norton as its director, writer and star. He plays a private investigator with Tourette syndrome in a cast that also includes Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis, and Alec Baldwin.

Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers,” about Manhattan strip-club performers targeting Wall Street clients, has a cast including Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lizzo, and Cardi B.

“Knives Out” by Rian Johnson is a murder mystery starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and Christopher Plummer.

The fest also scored the relationship drama “Marriage Story” by Noah Baumbach, starring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Laura Dern.

Johansson is also in the satirical wartime dark comedy “Jojo Rabbit” by Taika Waititi.

And three Canadian titles are on the docket: “Guest of Honour” by Atom Egoyan, starring Luke Wilson and Rossif Sutherland in a story of a father and his daughter; “American Woman,” a ficionalized take on events surrounding the radical 1970s group that kidnapped American heiress Patty Hearst, directed by Semi Chellas; and “The Song of Names” by Francois Girard, starring Clive Owen as a U.S.-based violinist reconnecting with his Polish roots.