"Looper", Kristen Stewart in focus as Toronto opens
By Christine Kearney
TORONTO (Reuters) - Action movie "Looper" with Joseph Gordon-Levitt opens the Toronto film festival on Thursday, but "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart is expected to attract the biggest buzz on the red carpet in a star-studded festival scattered with Oscar hopefuls.
Anticipation was high for one of the world's premier film festivals that coming off Venice marks the beginning of Hollywood's awards season. Filmmakers see it as crucial launching pad and Toronto has previously propelled such films as "The King's Speech" to go on to success at the Academy Awards.
Top stars due to appear include Ben Affleck, Selena Gomez, Halle Berry, Tom Hanks and rapper-turned reggae wannabe Snoop Dogg, now known as Snoop Lion. Kristen Stewart was due to hit the red carpet Thursday in her first appearance since admitting to cheating on "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson.
At the same time, "Looper," a sci-fi time travel thriller directed by Rian Johnson and featuring Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis in a futuristic story about a time-traveling assassin assigned to kill his future self, will officially kick off the 11-day festival that will screen more than 280 films.
The US-China co-production is not one of the films being keenly watched by Oscar observers, but was chosen as the opening film due to its star power and possible broad entertainment appeal, said festival organizers.
Johnson told reporters Thursday he hoped the film's combination of action and emotional pull would eventually draw viewers from Canada to China with a model "more like the first 'Terminator', just in terms of time travel setting up a situation."
Asked if there were concerns about violence in "Looper" and the wider movie world coming off the Colorado movie house massacre where during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in July a gunman killed 12 people, Willis defended violence in the movies as a part of their integral, emotional pull. Continued...