Entertainment Movies

TIFF 2017: Tragically Hip doc, George Clooney and Matt Damon’s ’Suburbicon’, Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Mother!’ and Margot Robbie’s Tonya Harding biopic headed to Toronto

Mark Daniell.

By Mark Daniell, Postmedia Network

(Handout)

(Handout)

If you’re thinking, ‘I wouldn’t mind seeing Margot Robbie in a fat suit,’ you won’t have to picture it in your mind much longer. And if you’re pondering how the Clooney twins might react to seeing the CN Tower, you may get a news update on that soon as well.

The Suicide Squad actress is headed to Hogtown with her Tonya Harding biopic, I, Tonya, this September. Ditto George Clooney, who is bringing his comic thriller Suburbicon to the 6ix.

The first batch of films headed to the 42nd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival was announced Tuesday morning and features 47 titles from over a dozen countries.

But omitted from the list of films is Quebec director Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated Blade Runner 2049. Many fans thought that the sequel was a slam dunk given both Villeneuve and star Ryan Gosling’s history with the Festival.

Standouts among the 14 Galas and 33 Special Presentations include the premiere of the Tragically Hip documentary Long Time Running, which charts the lead-up to the band’s 2016 tour after frontman Gord Downie announced he has terminal brain cancer.

Also making its debut is The Mountain Between Us, a survival tale that finds Idris Elba and Kate Winslet having to trek through the snowy wilderness after the plane they’re on crashes.

Jennifer Lawrence (who got our memo about Roy Thomson Hall's trip-free red carpet) will take a stab at psychological horror with Mother!, a film that also stars Javier Bardem and is directed by Darren Aronofsky. If the poster is any indication — Lawrence is seen holding out her heart ripped directly from her chest — then, yes, this has got skin crawler written all over it.

Best pals George Clooney and Matt Damon will reunite for Suburbicon , a comically violent picture written by the Coen brothers. Both stars have had a lot of success at the Festival; Clooney has been a Best Actor Oscar-nominee for three films that have premiered here — Michael Clayton, Up in the Air and The Descendants — and won a producing award, for Argo. Damon’s last trip through Toronto — for 2015’s The Martian — landed him a Best Actor nod from the Academy.

But the longtime friends likely won’t be hooking up with Brad Pitt’s ex Angelina Jolie, who has her Netflix film, First They Killed My Father, screening at the Fest.

Toronto audiences will also get an early look at Oscar-winner Emma Stone’s Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, a dramatic look at the historic tennis match between the women’s champ and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).

And in Downsizing, Damon (back again) and Kristen Wiig play a couple who shrink themselves down to the size of a Saltine cracker so they can live a life of luxury. The film also stars Neil Patrick Harris, Christoph Waltz and Laura Dern, and is directed by Festival fave Alexander Payne (The Descendents, About Schmidt). The made-in-Toronto film is scheduled to open in late December, making it a prime awards season contender.

Visual dynamo Guillermo del Toro will unveil his horror-romance The Shape of Water (also shot in Toronto), starring Michael Shannon, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer.

 Intouchables directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's C'est La Vie! will close the festival, but the opening night's film remains a mystery. So Blade Runner fans, there’s still hope.

Other highlights from Tuesday’s announcement:

  • Actor Andy Serkis’ Breathe, with Andrew Garfield playing the real-life Robin Cavendish who, after contracting polio at the age of 28, became an advocate for the disabled.
  • Paul Rudd as an MLB player turned spy in The Catcher Was a Spy.
  • An unrecognizable Gary Oldman as Sir Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal as a Boston Marathon bombing survivor in David Gordon Green’s Stronger.
  • Jessica Chastain in the period-drama Woman Walks Ahead.
  • Christian Bale in Scott Cooper’s Western, wait sorry, “frontier picture” Hostiles.
  • Professor Marston & the Wonder Women — the story about Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston — otherwise known as the man who created Wonder Woman
  • James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander go for romantic thrills in Submergence.
  • Awards-season contender Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, with Frances McDormand.
  • Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria in the biopic Victoria & Abdul.
  • Two Marvel heroes – Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland – join forces for The Current War (and no, this isn’t an Avengers prequel).
  • 007 and Jinx – a.k.a. Daniel Craig and Halle Berry – team up for Kings.
  • And there’s an untitled Bryan Cranston/ Kevin Hart drama (a remake of the French film Intouchables) also slated to unspool at the Fest.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 7 to 17. For more info, visit TIFF.net.

Twitter: @markhdaniell

Mdaniell@postmedia.com