The lineup, as TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey and Executive Director Joana Vicente announced on Tuesday, will include 16 gala selections and 37 special presentations. Among them is Joker, starring Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips, which Bailey told The Associated Press is likely TIFF’s “first entry into the superhero world.”
She continued: “But it’s a really original vision. It’s disturbing, utterly compelling, really gripping from start to finish… And one of the most remarkable things is that Joaquin Phoenix, in a career of great performances, gives one of his very best.”
The Hanks-starring Mr. Rogers biopic, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, was directed by Marielle Heller, who recently helmed the critically lauded Can You Ever Forgive Me? Other big-name filmmakers showing at the festival include Steven Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach, Rian Johnson, Taika Waititi and James Mangold.
Soderbergh’s The Laundromat is an investigative journalism drama that stars Meryl Streep and marks a return to Soderbergh working with A-list performers. Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story will star Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as the central couple, while Rian Johnson’s Agatha Christie homage Knives Out will feature Chris Evans and Daniel Craig.
Waititi — who recently announced that he’ll be directing the 2021 Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder — will premiere Jojo Rabbit, a World War II satire about a young member of the Hitler Youth group, who must confront his budding nationalism, and his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, when he learns his mother his hiding a Jewish girl in their house. Meanwhile, Mangold’s historical drama Ford v Ferrari, is an early Oscar frontrunner that stars Christian Bale and Matt Damon, and chronicles the rivalry between the two titular automakers as they try to win the 1966 Le Mans endurance race (last year’s Best Picture winner, Green Book, another historical drama, won the TIFF audience award.)
Kasi Lemmons, best known for her 1997 Southern gothic film Eve’s Bayou, makes a return to film with her Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet starring Cynthia Erivo. Other highlights include Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B; Destin Daniel Cretton’s Civil Rights-era drama Just Mercy with Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx; Edward Norton’s adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s novel Motherless Brooklyn, John Crowley’s adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, the Judy Garland biopic Judy starring Renee Zellweger and the Bruce Springsteen concert film Western Stars.
The initial slate of films set to screen at TIFF is available on the festival’s website. A schedule will be released August 20th.