Toronto fest adds Portman, Bening films to lineup

Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:03am EDT
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - The Natalie Portman-starring "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits," from writer-director Don Roos, and Rodrigo Garcia's "Mother and Child," a dramatic tale starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington, are to receive red carpet treatment as world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.

Garcia's drama also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits and Shareeka Epps, and will unspool at the Roy Thomson Hall in a gala slot.

In "Pursuits," Portman, who replaced Jennifer Lopez in the lead, plays a woman trying to save her marriage with the help of her precocious stepson.

Also getting high-profile North American premieres at the Toronto fest, which runs September 10-19, are Grant Heslov's "The Men Who Stare at Goats," a thriller that stars George Clooney and Ewan McGregor; Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar's "Agora," which stars Rachel Weisz; and French director Jan Kounen's "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky."

There's also a gala world premiere for Carlos Saura's "I, Don Giovanni," a period drama about the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and an international premiere for "Phantom Pain," from German director Matthias Emcke and starring Til Schweiger.

Festival programmers also added to the Special Presentations sidebar the world premiere of French director Christian Carion's Cold War thriller "L'Affaire Farewell" and U.S. director Derrick Borte's "The Joneses," a comedic drama starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny as a picture-perfect American couple found wanting by their neighbors.

Also Toronto-bound is Werner Herzog's "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done" and John Hillcoat's "The Road," a post-apocalyptic survival tale starring Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce.

There's also a world bow for Indian director Dev Benegal's "Road, Movie," and a North American bow for Tom Ford's "A Single Man," which features Colin Firth as a British professor in 1962 Los Angeles finding meaning in a friend's death. The picture also stars Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode.

<p>Actress Natalie Portman arrives at the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>