TORONTO – The stars are aligning for the Toronto International Film Festival, with Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Drake, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence and Idris Elba among the celebrities expected to hit the red carpet.
Other stars confirmed to attend include Matt Damon, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Chastain and Liam Neeson.
Organizers say the A-listers are among hundreds of guests booked for the 11-day movie marathon, set to open Sept. 7.
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Jolie will be promoting “First They Killed My Father,” which she directed, produced and co-wrote, and “The Breadwinner,” which she produced. Drake is an executive producer on the basketball documentary “The Carter Effect” about former Toronto Raptor Vince Carter.
Clooney directed Damon in the comedy “Suburbicon,” while Stone stars in the historical tennis drama “Battle of the Sexes,” Lawrence is the lead actress in “mother!” and Elba stars in the survival tale “The Mountain Between Us.”
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Chastain stars in “Molly’s Game,” Kidman is back at TIFF with “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” and Neeson is an anonymous tipster in “Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House.”
Meanwhile, the festival also announced on Tuesday that Helen Mirren and Javier Bardem will discuss their craft onstage as part of the “In Conversation With” lineup, which also includes Gael Garcia Bernal.
Mirren heads to the fest with “The Leisure Seeker,” Bardem can be seen in “mother!” and “Loving Pablo,” and Bernal stars in “If You Saw His Heart.”
Noticeably absent in the guest list is Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, who stars in the concert documentary “Long Time Running.” His bandmates Rob Baker, Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fay are slated to attend, as are directors Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. The doc follows the band in the wake of Downie’s public announcement that he has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Despite the celebrity heft, the festival is considerably smaller this year.
Organizers say the slates includes 255 features, down from 296 last year, and 84 shorts, down from 101 last year.
The slim-down includes Canadian films, with just 28 homegrown features making the cut, including co-productions. Last year saw 38 features. The number of Canadian shorts is down to 29, from 38 last year.