'The Martian,' 'Black Mass' Lead Toronto Film Festival Lineup

Matt Damon sci-fi film, Johnny Depp gangster biopic and new Michael Moore doc among big TIFF titles

Matt Damon and Johnny Depp Credit: ChinaFotoPress/Getty; Albert L. Ortega/Getty

Ridley Scott's sci-fi thriller The Martian, starring Matt Damon as a stranded astronaut, and Black Mass, a Seventies-era crime drama about notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger (played by Johnny Depp), are among the first crop of movies announced for this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

The Martian — based on the bestseller by Andy Weir — will make its world premiere at TIFF. It stars Damon as an astronaut left to fend for himself on the red planet after being separated from his crew in their attempt to flee Mars amidst a storm. The cast also includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

Black Mass, which is making its Canadian premiere (after screening at the Venice Film Festival), also boasts an all-star cast: Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Corey Stoll and Peter Sarsgaard. The ensemble will tell the story of Whitey Bulger's long, violent reign in Boston, which was perpetuated by a bizarre relationship between the FBI and Italian mob.

Tom McCarthy's Spotlight, making its international premiere, also examines the seedier side of Boston's history, telling the true story of a team of Boston Globe reporters who uncovered years of abuse in the Catholic Church. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schriber, Stanley Tucci, Brian d'Arcy James and Billy Crudup.

Among the other world premieres at this year's TIFF are Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next and Roland Emmerich's Stonewall. For his latest documentary, Moore went rogue, assuming "invading" duties from the Pentagon and going off the grid to report and shoot in various countries around the world.

Emmerich's Stonewall, meanwhile, offers a fictional account of a young homeless man in 1969 Greenwich Village who becomes a regular at the Stonewall Inn and witnesses the discrimination, and subsequent riots, that kickstart the contemporary gay rights movement.

Cary Fukunaga's latest, Beasts of No Nation, will also screen at TIFF before it arrives on Netflix in October. Based on Uzodinma Iweala's novel of the same name, the film stars Idris Elba as Commandant, an African warlord, who takes one of his illicitly acquired child soldiers, Agu — played by newcomer Abraham Attah — under his wing.

The festival will also screen Charlie Kauffman's latest, Anomalisa, which was co-directed with Duke Johnson and stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis.

And making its North American premiere is Sicario, which was directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Emily Blunt as an idealistic FBI agent, Kate, on the U.S.-Mexico border. Enlisted by a government task force official played by Josh Brolin, and accompanied by an enigmatic guide played by Benicio Del Toro, Kate's mission forces her to question the war against drugs she's dedicated herself to fighting. 

The 40th Tornoto International Film Festival will run from September 10th to the 20th. A list of all the films currently scheduled to screen during the festival, as well as ticket information, is available on the TIFF website. More films will be announced in the coming weeks.