Mister Rogers, the Joker and Judy Garland Are All Headed to Toronto Film Festival

TIFF’s formidable lineup of directors will include Steven Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach, Taika Waititi, Rian Johnson, John Crowley, Kasi Lemmons, Armando Iannucci … and Bruce Springsteen

Tom Hanks Joaquin Phoenix Renee Zellweger TIFF
Left to right: Tom Hanks in 'Won't You Be My Neighbor,' Joaquin Phoenix in 'Joker' and Renee Zellweger in 'Judy'

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers and Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland are among the actors who will appear on screen at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF organizers announced on Tuesday.

For its first large batch of programming announcements, TIFF unveiled a star-studded slate of more than 50 films, many of them highly anticipated works from such celebrated directors as Noah Baumbach, Steven Soderbergh, Taika Waititi, Armando Iannucci, James Mangold, Fernando Meirelles, Pablo Larrain, Rian Johnson and the Safdie brothers.

Phoenix stars in Todd Phillips “Batman” spinoff “Joker” alongside Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy. Hanks plays Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a film from “Can You Ever Forgive Me” director Marielle Heller based on an Esquire profile of Rogers by writer Tom Junod, who is portrayed by Matthew Rhys. And Zellweger plays Garland in “Judy,” a biographical drama adapted from Peter Quilter’s stage play by British theater director Rupert Goold.

Other galas include Roger Michell’s “Blackbird,” with Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska; James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari,” starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale; John Crowley’s “The Goldfinch,” with Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman in an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel; Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet Tubman biopic, “Harriet”; Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Just Mercy,” with Michael B. Jordan; and Justin Kurzel’s “True History of the Kelly Gang,” starring Russell Crowe.

“Radioactive,” a new film from “Persepolis” director Marjane Satrapi starring Rosamund Pike as scientist Marie Curie, will close the festival.

While TIFF previously announced that its opening-night film will be the music documentary “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band,” it added another formidable music film to the mix on Tuesday: “Western Stars,” a film by Thom Zimny and Bruce Springsteen inspired by and chronicling Springsteen’s latest album of the same name. Springsteen was last at the festival in 2010 for the premiere of “The Promise,” a Zimny film that followed the making of his 1978 album “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”

Films that will screen in the Special Screenings section of the festival include Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers project “The Laundromat,” starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Andonio Banderas; Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” with Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson; Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” a World War II-era black comedy about a young boy whose imaginary friend is Adolph Hitler; Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out,” a murder mystery starring Daniel Craig and Chris Evans; Wayne Wang’s “Coming Home Again”; Craig Brewer’s “Dolemite Is My Name,” with Eddie Murphy; Pablo Larrain’s “Ema,” with Gael Garcia Bernal; Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn,” with Willem Dafoe, Alec Baldwin and Bruce Willis; Armando Iannucci’s “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” a presumably twisted Dickens adaptation starring Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton; Benny and Josh’s Safdie’s “Uncut Gems,” with Adam Sandler and Lakeith Stanfield; Cory Finley’s “Bad Education,” with Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney; and Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes,” with Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict XVI.

The lineup also includes several films that premiered at previous festivals, including Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” Ira Sachs’ “Frankie” and Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner “Parasite” from Cannes and Scott Z. Burns’ “The Report,” Alma Har’el’s “Honey Boy” and Chinoye Chukwu’s “Clemency” from Sundance.

After sitting out the Cannes Film Festival over a dispute with that festival’s rules, Netflix will have a formidable presence in Toronto, with “Marriage Story,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “The Laundromat” and “The Two Popes” all due to be released by the streaming giant.  Its rival Amazon has two of the TIFF titles, “Honey Boy” and “Radioactive.”

As usual, the TIFF press release announcing the lineup provides clues as to which titles will be going to the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals ahead of Toronto by its designations of which films are world premieres, which are North American premieres and which are Canadian premieres.

The release shows that the films premiering in Toronto will include “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “The Goldfinch,” “Just Mercy,” “Western Stars,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Knives Out,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” while Venice (which will announce its lineup on Thursday) is liable to show “Joker,” “The Laundromat” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and the Telluride lineup will likely include “Ford v Ferrari,” “Judy,” “Marriage Story,” “Motherless Brooklyn,” “Parasite,” “The Two Popes” and “Uncut Gems.”

Additions to TIFF’s Galas and Special Screenings programs will be announced in the coming weeks, as will films in many other sections of the festival. Overall, Toronto typically showcases more than 200 features, as well as a large number of short films and other exhibits and installations.

The 44th annual Toronto International Film Festival kicks off on September 5 and runs through September 15.

The lineup:

Opening night:
“Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band,” Daniel Roher

Closing night:
“Radioactive,” Marjane Satrapi

“Abominable,” Jill Culton
“American Woman,” Semi Chellas
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Marielle Heller
“Blackbird,” Roger Michell
“Clemency,” Chinoye Chukwu
“Ford v Ferrari,” James Mangold
“The Goldfinch,” John Crowley
“Harriet,” Kasi Lemmons
“Hustlers,” Lorene Scafaria
“Joker,” Todd Phillips
“Just Mercy,” Destin Daniel Cretton
“Ordinary Love,” Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn
“The Sky Is Pink,” Shonali Bose
“The Song of Names,” Francois Girard
“True History of the Kelly Gang,” Justin Kurzel
“Western Stars,” Thom Zimny, Bruce Springsteen

“Bad Education,” Cory Finley
“Coming Home Again,” Wayne Wang
“Dolemite Is My Name,” Craig Brewer
“Ema,” Pablo Larrain
“Endings, Beginnings,” Drake Doremus
“Frankie,” Ira Sachs
“The Friend,” Gabriela Cowperthwaite
“Greed,” Michael Winterbottom
“Guest of Honor,” Atom Egoyan
“A Herdade,” Tiago Guedes
“Heroic Losers” (“La odisea de los giles”), Sebastian Borensztein
“Honey Boy,” Alma Har’el
“Hope Gap,” William Nicholson
“How to Build a Girl,” Coky Giedroyc
“I Am Woman,” Unjoo Moon
“Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi
“Judy,” Rupert Goold
“Knives Out,” Rian Johnson
“La Belle Epoque,” Nicolas Bedos
“The Laundromat,” Steven Soderbergh
“The Lighthouse,” Robert Eggers
“Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach
“Military Wives,” Peter Cattaneo
“Motherless Brooklyn,” Edward Norton
“No. 7 Cherry Lane,” Yonfan
“The Other Lamb,” Malgorzata Szumowska
“Pain and Glory,” Pedro Almodovar
“The Painted Bird,” Vaclav Marhoul
“Parasite” (“Gisaengchung”), Bong Joon-ho
“Pelican Blood” (“Pelikanblut”), Katrin Gebbe
“The Personal History of David Copperfield,” Armando Iannucci
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (“Portrait de la jeune fille en feu”), Celine Sciamma
“The Report,” Scott Z. Burns
“Saturday Fiction” (“Lan Xin Da Ju Yuan”), Lou Ye
“The Two Popes,” Fernando Meirelles
“Uncut Gems,” Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
“Weathering With You,” Makoto Shinkai
“While at War” (“Mientras Dure La Guerra”), Alejandro Amenabar