August 16, 2011 / 8:29 PM / 8 years ago

Spies, assassins spice up Toronto film festival

TORONTO (Reuters) - Spies and assassins will get moviegoers’ adrenaline pumping at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, while the world premiere of a Winnie Mandela biopic brings a political edge to the event.

The 10-day festival opens on September 8 and will close with David Hare’s “Page Eight”, a contemporary spy film that casts a critical eye on modern intelligence practices.

The drama, which stars Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon and Rachel Weisz, was one of eight new gala screenings announced by festival organizers on Tuesday.

The festival, which serves as a launch pad for movies looking for attention in Hollywood’s Oscar season, also will host the world premiere of the highly-anticipated biopic “Winnie”, starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela and recounting the South African politician’s true-life love story with Nelson Mandela as they fought for democracy.

Other big names expected in Toronto include Robert De Niro, Jason Statham and Clive Owen, who all star in Gary McKendry’s assassin-drama “Killer Elite”, along with Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman, who play a couple rocked by a violent home invasion in Joel Schumacher’s “Trespass”.

The festival, which will feature 20 gala screenings and 67 special presentations, is set to open with the world premiere of U2 documentary “From the Sky Down” by Davis Guggenheim, the first time in the event’s 36-year history that a documentary has been the debut night movie.

Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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