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George Clooney, Madonna, Steven Soderbergh and More: This Fall’s Festival Wishlist

George Clooney, Madonna, Steven Soderbergh and More: This Fall's Festival Wishlist

Even as Cannes announced its lineup, speculation and predictions loomed about what was in store for the two biggest festivals of the late summer.

With announcements sure to start slowly rolling in over the summer,

The 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival will run August 31 to September 10th, while Toronto will celebrate its 36th edition September 8-18. And then of course there’s Telluride, which goes down on Labor Day weekend.

A lot of high-profile films were unexpectedly unready in time for Cannes, including Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” and Roman Polanski’s “Carnage.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s time to let the serious speculation begin: Which films will be the mammoths of the fall festival circuit?

The Oscar launching pads start at the Venice Film Festival (August 31-September 10), followed by Telluride over Labor Day weekend, and then finally the Toronto International Film Festival (September 8-18). Last year, three of the 10 Best Picture nominees screened at the Venice and/or Toronto (and it was five the year before).

Among the possible, likely, or essentially assured filmmakers who will premiere at Venice, Telluride or Toronto are Steven Soderbergh, Walter Salles, George Clooney, Whit Stillman, Sarah Polley, Jason Reitman, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Alexander Payne, David Cronenberg, Andrea Arnold and, yes, Madonna.

Here’s a list of 50 films, all new movies that haven’t played anywhere yet, and that indieWIRE’s editorial team hopes to see during the Telluride, Venice and Toronto triad.

50/50,” directed by Jonathan Levine
Summit has been screening this dramedy for press, and it’s all but assured it’s a build-up to a Toronto debut (its late September release date adds to that theory). Originally titled “I’m With Cancer” (and then “Live With It”), “50/50” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen and is loosely based on the real-life story of screenwriter Will Reiser. It follows Adam (Gordon-Levitt), a young man diagnosed with cancer and given the titular chances of living. Anna Kendrick (as Adam’s doctor), Bryce Dallas Howard (as his girlfriend) and Anjelica Huston (as his mother, and said to be fantastic) co-star, and the film could end up a surprise fixture in Oscar season, where both Gordon-Levitt and Rogen have yet to make a significant appearance. [Peter Knegt]

Albert Nobbs,” directed by Rodrigo García
Twenty-two years after Glenn Close’s last Oscar nomination (she received five nominations between 1983 and 1989, but never won), the actress is making a serious bid at finally winning with passion project “Albert Nobbs.” Directed by Rodrigo García (“Mother and Child”), the film finds Close portraying an Englishwoman who disguises herself as a man and works as a butler in order to survive in male-dominated 19th-century Ireland. Close first played the role in a 1982 stage production, and spent 15 years trying to turn it into a film. Close is also a producer and co-writer with John Banville, and stars alongside an impressive supporting cast: Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Brendan Gleeson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Brenda Fricker. Distributor-free so far, Toronto would be an ideal place for Close and company to get the Oscar ball rolling. [Peter Knegt]

Alps,” directed Giorgos Lanthimos
With “Dogtooth,” Lanthimos established himself as one to watch. Now with his third feature, the cinephile crowd was pulling for “Alps” to make its debut in Cannes, where “Dogtooth” won the Un Certain Regard prize in 2009. That didn’t happen, so Venice might be in the cards instead. In “Alps,” a group of people promise to stand in for others’ dearly departed loved ones to help them with the grieving process. Lanthimos promises that “Alps” will be both “darker and funnier” than “Dogtooth”… a very intriguing promise indeed. [Bryce J. Renninger]

A Burning Summer” (Un été brûlant), directed by Philippe Garrel
Starring the director’s heartthrob son Louis Garrel (“Love Songs”) and Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci, the film positions two of Europe’s hottest actors in the story of a stormy relationship between a painter and an actress. The Wild Bunch project is produced by Edouard Weil and written by Philippe Garrel, Marc Chodolenko and Caroline Deruas and is currently listed as in post-production on IMDb. Garrel has won numerous festival accolades, including the Silver Lion at the 2005 Venice Film Festival for Best Director for “Regular Lovers.” [Brian Brooks]

Butter,” directed by Jim Field Smith
First-time screenwriter Jason A. Micallef and director Jim Field Smith (“She’s Out Of Your League”) recently completed “Butter,” a quirky comedy with sleeper gold written all over it. Set in the Midwest, a ‘tween somehow discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself the arch nemesis of a local mom in their town’s annual competition. Filled out with a funny, A-list cast led by Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Garner, “Butter” just might be churned out in time for fall festivals. [Austin Dale]

Café de flore,” directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
From the director of 2009’s “The Young Victoria” and 2005’s “C.R.A.Z.Y.,” Vallée’s latest stars young French actress Vanessa Paradis (“Heartbreaker”), Kevin Parent (T.V.’s “Charles in Charge”) and Hélène Florent (“In the Cities”) in a “love story between a man and woman.” Set in ’60s Paris, Paradis will apparently play a mother to a developmentally disabled child, with a parallel story set in present-day Montreal. “It’s an epic love story that deals with supernatural forces,” Vallee told Daily Variety about the film, which is listed on IMDb as currently in post-production. With a lineup of good-looking hottie that would illuminate red carpets and Vallée’s return to French and his recent successes, a place could very well be reserved for “Café” on the fall fest circuit. [Brian Brooks]

Carnage,” directed by Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski follows up his acclaimed “Ghost Writer” with the adaptation of the award-winning play “God of Carnage,” which follows two sets of parents (Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly) who meet after their children have been in a fight that day at school. It’s an amazing cast and a juicy source material, and Polanski seems to be back at the top of his game. For whatever reason, IMDb is already listing the film as having a Venice premiere, which is definitely not official. But considering the pedigree, “Carnage” seems like a perfect fit for the festival. [Peter Knegt]

Chicken With Plums, directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi
The duo behind “Persepolis” are tackling another Satrapi graphic novel, this time in a live-action adaptation. “Chicken with Plums” will hope to have the same impact as the animated “Persepolis,” which received an Academy Award nomination for best animated feature. The story revolves around a depressed musician during the last week of his life. Many assumed it would end up at Cannes (as “Persepolis” did), but perhaps the film will head to Venice instead. [Daniel Loria]

The Congress,” directed by Ari Folman
After garnering massive acclaim for his Academy Award-nominated animated debut “Waltz with Bashir,” Ari Folman’s latest hotly anticipated feature is an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s 1871 sci-fi novel, “The Futurological Congress.” The film, said to be a mix of live-action and animation, stars Robin Wright as a struggling actress who agrees to sell her image and likeness to provide care for her disabled son. The catch? She’ll never be able to act again. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“Let Me In”), Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti and Harvey Keitel are rumored to round out the impressive cast. Go here to see a clip from the film to get an idea of how it’s all going to look. Looks like a winner. [Nigel M. Smith]

Contagion” and “Haywire,” both directed by Steven Soderbergh
The allegedly retiring Steven Soderbergh has two films awaiting release: “Contagion” and “Haywire.” The former is a thriller set around the threat of an outbreak of a deadly disease and features a ridiculously star-studded cast in Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard. Nor does “Haywire” lack for starpower with Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas. It follows a black ops super soldier (newcomer Gina Carano, who could seriously break out from this) who seeks payback after she is betrayed during a mission. One or both could easily end up in Venice and/or Toronto, ushering in the potential beginning of the end of Soderbergh’s career (though he still has the Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas and the Channing Tatum “male stripper” project on tap). [Peter Knegt]

Damsels in Distress,” directed by Whit Stillman
Whit Stillman has not completed a feature since 1998’s “Last Days of Disco.” His latest stars Greta Gerwig (“No Strings Attached”), Adam Brody (“Scream 4”) and Analeigh Tipton (“The Green Hornet”). According to Open Book Casting, it centers on a group of college girls who take in a new student and teach her their own misguided ways of helping people. Lily, a new student at Seven Oaks University, winds up filling in with a dynamic and highly individualistic group of girls, addicted to the elegance of the past: Heather, Violet and Rose all volunteer at the campus Suicide Prevention Center, convinced that musical dance, sharp clothes and good hygiene can all contribute to staving off the inevitable self-destructive impulses that follow hard on the heels of failed college romances. Stillman received an Oscar nomination for “Metropolitan” in 1990 and, among his festival nods, he received the Silver Leopard for “Metropolitan” at the 1990 Locarno Film Festival. [Brian Brooks]

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A Dangerous Method,” directed by David Cronenberg
In what looks to be one of David Cronenberg’s most accessible efforts, “A Dangerous Method” details the turbulent relationships between psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the woman who comes between them. Adapted from John Kerr’s 1993 non-fiction book “A Most Dangerous Method” by “Atonement” screenwriter Christopher Hampton, the film stars frequent Cronenberg collaborator Viggo Mortensen as Freud as well as Michael Fassbender (as Jung) and Keira Knightley (as Spielrein). The film is reportedly complete, so it seems like a safe bet the director’s native Toronto (and likely Venice as well). [Peter Knegt]

Dark Horse,” directed by Todd Solondz
Listed as in post-production on IMDb. Starring Justin Bartha (“Holy Rollers”), Donna Murphy (“Ugly Betty”), Christopher Walken, Selma Blair and Mia Farrow, the film is described as centering on a romance that “blooms between two thirty-somethings in arrested development: an avid toy collector and a woman who is the dark horse of her family.” Among his fall festival nods are a Metro Media Award Award for “Happiness” in 1998 in Toronto and the Golden Osella prize for Best Screenplay in 2009 for “Life During Wartime.” [Brian Brooks]

The Deep Blue Sea,” directed by Terence Davies
The much-loved but barely seen “Of Time and the City” was the last film from British auteur Terence Davies. He’s returning to the screen with an adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s “The Deep Blue Sea,” an exploration of the relationship between wayward neighbors Mr. Miller, who was forced from his post as a doctor, and Hester Collyer, who is at once married to a High Court Judge and having an affair with a pilot in the Royal Air Force. The play was adapted in Hollywood in the 1950’s with Vivien Leigh in the lead role; Rachel Weisz takes the lead this time ’round. [Bryce J. Renninger]

The Descendants,” directed by Alexander Payne
It’s been seven years since Alexander Payne’s critical darling “Sideways” became a huge crossover success story, grossing $70 million, receiving a best-picture nomination and significantly aiding the domestic wine market (unless you made Merlot). That film premiered in Toronto and it seems likely that “The Descendants” might head there as well. Festivals love them some George Clooney on the red carpet and that’s what they’d get with “Descendents,” which stars Clooney as Matt King, a land baron who tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident. Based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’s novel, the film also stars Judy Greer, Robert Forster, Beau Bridges and rising star Shailene Woodley (in what is said to be a very Oscar-bait role). [Peter Knegt]

Dream House,” directed by Jim Sheridan
Academy Award-nominated Irish director Jim Sheridan’s follow-up to “Brothers” boasts a similarly impressive trio that includes the likes of Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. Craig and Weisz play a couple who relocate into a small town in Connecticut, only to discover that their new home was the site of another family’s blood bath. Watts stars as their new neighbor. The thriller began production in February in Toronto and is currently in post. A fall premiere seems to be in the cards. [Nigel M. Smith]

Faust,” directed by Alexander Sokurov
Award-winning director Alexander Sokurov completes his series on the corrupting effects of power with “Faust,” which is loosely based on Goethe’s “Faust” and Thomas Mann’s “Doctor Faustus,” both based on the German legend in which a man sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge. The previous installments were on Hitler, Lenin and Japanese emperor Hirohito. In 2005, Sokurov announced the project, describing it as “a very colourful, elegant picture with a lot of Strauss music and a smell of chocolate.” Production took place in late 2009 in Germany and Iceland. [Alena Chinault]

The Fields,” directed by Ami Canaan Mann
Ami Canaan Mann follows in the footsteps of her father Michael Mann (“Heat”) with her feature directorial debut. Based on true story, “The Fields” follows a pair of detectives investigating a series of unsolved murders near the oil refineries in coastal Texas. Jessica Chastain (what isn’t she in?) stars alongside Chloe Moretz, Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The film began shooting in April in Louisiana and is currently listed as in post-production. [Nigel M. Smith]

For Ellen,” directed by So Yong Kim (USA)
Kim’s “Treeless Mountain” took the Netpac Award at the Pusan International Film Festival in 2008 and IMDb lists her latest, “For Ellen” in post, so perhaps it may head back to the South Korean festival or one of many others this fall. Starring Paul Dano (“Meek’s Cutoff”), Jon Heder (TV’s “Dead Grandma”) and Jena Malone (“Sucker Punch”), the drama is described as centering on a “struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter.” [Brian Brooks]

Garbage in the Garden of Eden,” directed by Fatih Akin
Fatih Akin (“The Edge of Heaven,” “Soul Kitchen”) takes a break from the narrative feature filmmaking with his latest, a documentary that tracks villagers in Turkey’s Black Sea village of Camburnu who struggle with the government’s decision to turn their community into a giant garbage dump. Akin previously helmed the award-winning “Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul” and a number of short docs. [Nigel M. Smith]

Gazing Into The Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale Of Life,” directed by Werner Herzog
Last week, Herzog’s producer Erik Nelson noted that is currently working on Herzog’s follow up to his box-office hit “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” and that film will indeed be out in 2011. The Playlist reported earlier this year that the film will focus on four men and one woman, and Herzog will interview them directly. “The director will not be focusing on their guilt or innocence, but instead will allow them to speak for themselves, saying the project will utilize little in the way of music or voice-over narration,” the article noted. Toronto’s strong doc lineup (that’s where “Cave” got its start last year) is likely to include it. [Peter Knegt]

The Grandmasters,” directed by Wong Kar Wai
In production since late 2009, one would think flashy Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai would be ready to debut “The Grandmasters,” a film that will star sinophone superstars Zhang Ziyi, Tonny Leung, and Chang Chen (though this report suggests otherwise). The film is the biopic of Ip Man, the man who mentored Bruce Lee. The life of Ip Man was subjected to two films already: Wilson Yip’s “Ip Man” and “Ip Man 2.” With anyone else at the helm, we’d have to question if another film needs to be made; but who could pass up any Wong film? [Bryce J. Renninger]

Human Centipede II,” directed by Tom Six
Steel yourself for “The Human Centipede II,” which, according to one insider, will make the first installment look like a Disney cartoon. The tale continues with Ashynn Yennie, Bill Hutchens, Lucas Hansen and more. IFC Films is releasing and the film is noted in IMDb to be in post (no doubt where most of the magic happens). And hold on for more… Apparently there will even be a “Human Centipede III” – Yum Yum!! [Brian Brooks]

The Ides of March,” directed by George Clooney
In addition to “The Descendants,” George Clooney could make a different kind of appearance with “The Ides of March,” his adaptation of the acclaimed off-Broadway play “Farragut North.” Clooney directed, co-wrote (alongside Grant Heslov) and co-starred in the film, which also features an impressive cast in Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. It follows an idealistic staffer (Gosling) for a newbie presidential candidate (Clooney) who gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. An awards season push is a safe bet, and a Toronto debut to kick that off before its October 14 release seems inevitable. [Peter Knegt] UPDATE: This film has been confirmed as opening the Venice Film Festival.

The Impossible,” directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Bayona’s follow-up to his hugely successful feature debut, “The Orphanage,” stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. The film is based on one family’s horrifying and emotional experience during the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. Filming took place in late 2010 in Spain and Thailand and is currently in post-production so a fall release seems likely. [Alena Chinault]

In Time,” directed by Andrew Niccol
Before he steps into the director’s chair for the sure-to-be blockbusting film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s sci-fi novel “The Host,” Andrew Niccol’s “In Time,” starring Amanda Seyfried (sporting red hair) and Justin Timberlake, is set to hit theaters this fall. The “Gattaca” director’s thriller is another high-concept one, taking place in a society where people stop aging at 25 and time is a currency. Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Wilde, Cilian Murphy and Matt Bomer round out the cast. The film drops October 28 in the U.S., so a Toronto world premiere seems very likely. [Nigel M. Smith]

The Iron Lady,” directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher is as safe an idea for Oscar inclusion as it gets, and audiences could end up getting their first glimpse of what Streep brings to the table on the fall festival circuit. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd (known best for helming “Mamma Mia!,” which definitely has a few folks concerned), the film is narrated through a series of flashbacks, including the 17 days leading up to the Falklands War in 1982. There’s definitely an argument that distributor The Weinstein Company could save the film from audiences until its December 16 theatrical release (especially if its not going to be a critic’s darling), but one never knows. [Peter Knegt]

Jeff Who Lives at Home, directed by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
Though the Duplass Brothers have always been more Sundance than any other fest (ever since their film “The Puffy Chair” debuted in Park City in 2005), this foray into more mainstream fare could see them pop up in Toronto. Their latest comedy, “Jeff Who Lives at Home,” follows “Cyrus” with its starpower and relatively high production values, but is also reported to keep with the Duplass’ largely improvisational style of filmmaking. Starring Jason Segel, Judy Greer, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon, the film revolves around Jeff (Segel) who sets out on a routine errand for his disgruntled mother but finds that the universe is sending him signs about his future. [Brian Brooks]

The Lady,” directed by Luc Besson
Luc Besson (“The Professional,” “Arthur and the Invisibles”) takes a break from his action and kiddie fare with “The Lady,” an epic love story concerning Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh), who opposed military rule in Burma and spent 20 years under house arrest as a result. David Thewlis plays her husband, Michael Aris. The screenplay by Rebecca Frayn was penned after 18 months of interviews with Suu Kyi’s relatives and friends. The film is slated to hit Germany on October 27, so a fall festival rollout seems very likely. [Nigel M. Smith]

Margaret, directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Kenneth Lonergan’s intensely delayed follow-up to “You Can Count On Me” apparently has been completed, but history is against hedging any bets on it. Starring Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Kieran Culkin and Rosemarie DeWitt, the film follows a 17-year-old (Paquin, who was 23 at the time of shooting, is 28 now) upset with the potential role she played in a traffic accident. If it were to premiere this year, it would appropriately be during the 10-year anniversary of “You Can Count On Me.” [Peter Knegt]

Moneyball,” directed by Bennett Miller
Just days before “Moneyball,” a film about the Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane and his revolutionary sabermetric drafting, began shooting, it looked like it would be a no-go, even with Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman signed on to star. Steven Soderbergh was fired and the script was given a major rewrite by “The Social Network” scribe Aaron Sorkin. Now helmed by “Capote” director Bennett Miller, the film is in post-production and set for release this fall by Columbia Pictures. We wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this much-discussed film go directly to theaters, but a brief festival run to build up good press isn’t unlikely either. [Austin Dale]

The Moth Diaries, directed by Mary Harron
Vampires and teenagers have proved to be a winning combination at the multiplex, but how would they fare on the festival circuit? Mary Harron (“American Psycho”) directs this film about an elite girls’ boarding school where the newest pupil might (or might not!) be a vampire. English model Lily Cole (“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”) and Scott Speedman (“Barney’s Version”) headline the cast. Variety reported that the film has indeed been submitted to Venice. [Daniel Loria]

My Week With Marilyn,” directed by Simon Curtis
Another of The Weinstein Company’s 2011 Oscar bait slate, “My Week With Marilyn” is a British-produced film that depicts the making of the 1957 film “The Prince and the Showgirl,” which starred Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. Starring Michelle Williams (as Monroe), Kenneth Branagh (as Olivier), Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne and Judi Dench, buzz is strong and Harvey and Co. might want to put the Oscar wheels in motion in Toronto, as they did for “The King’s Speech.” [Peter Knegt]

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On The Road, directed by Walter Salles
There has been speculation that Walter Salles would ready his Jack Kerouac adaptation for Venice or Toronto; it’s been in post since December. But whenever it rears its head, it’s sure to spark serious interest from fans of Kerouac’s iconic novel, particularly due to its substantial cast in Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Garrett Hedlund and Steve Buscemi. For Salles’ sake, let’s just hope it ups the ante from his previous English-language effort, Jennifer Connelly horror flick “Dark Water.” [Peter Knegt]

Paradise,” directed by Ulrich Seidl
Ulrich Seidl’s seems to be continuing his disturbing, documentary-style techniques with “Paradise.” The film follows three women: one who travels to Kenya as a sex tourist, one who spends time at a weight-loss camp, and one who tries to propagate Catholicism. Production took place from late 2009 through 2010 in Kenya and Vienna, and is currently listed as in post-production. [Alena Chinault]

Prey,” directed by Brillante Mendoza
Mendoza shocked some with his last film, “Kinatay,” which had a heavy dose of violence — though the film took the Best Director prize at Cannes in 2009. In his latest starring Isabelle Huppert, Maria Isabel Lopez and Joel Torre, the film may likely be another action-packed thriller. “Prey” centers on one of the survivors of the Dos Palmas kidnapping in 2001 in Mindanao in the Philippines. [Brian Brooks]

Rampart,” directed by Oren Moverman
Crime drama “Rampart” sports a long cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Anne Heche and Ice Cube in a script written by Moverman and James Ellroy. The project revolves around “veteran police officer Dave Brown, the last of the renegade cops, as he struggles to take care of his family, and fights for his own survival.” The Playlist said the film is more likely as a Sundance 2012 candidate, but we’ll keep our eye out for it all the same. Said Foster: “I’m just saying it now, watch out for next awards season, Woody Harrelson’s performance in this movie ‘Rampart’ is insane. It’s insane what he did. And I don’t want to sound like a douchebag producer, but I am now. So, I’m just saying…”. [Brian Brooks]

The Rum Diary,” directed by Bruce Robinson
Bruce Robinson, best known for cult classic “Withnail & I,” hasn’t directed a film since “Jennifer Eight” (1992), but he’s rounded up some A-list talent for his newest effort. More importantly, “The Rum Diary” reunites Johnny Depp with Hunter S. Thompson (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”), upon whose novel the film is based. This was on our list last year, but with its official fall release date, the film could very well have its official debut come Venice or Toronto. In the movie, Johnny Depp stars as Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist who goes through a mid-life crisis while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean of all places. Rounding out the cast is Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Jenkins and Amber Head. [Nigel Smith]

Seven Days,” directed by Michael Winterbottom
Starring Shirley Henderson (“Trainspotting”), John Simm (“24 Hour Party People”) and Johnny Lynch (“Sex & Drugs & Rock&Roll”) “Seven Days” is one of three projects in the works for Winterbottom, but appears to be the furthest along. The film “charts the relationship between a man imprisoned for drug smuggling and his wife and is being shot over the course of five years, a few weeks at a time.” Winterbottom was in the Venice competition back in 2003 with “Code 46” and won the Silver Seashell for Best Director for “A Summer in Genoa” at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2008. [Brian Brooks]

Shame,” directed by Steve McQueen
Up-and-coming British director Steve McQueen” reteams with his “Hunger” star Michael Fassbender (quite the up-and-comer himself, and potentially showing off three very promising films on the fall fest circuit) for “Shame.” The film follows Brandon (Fassbender), a man living in New York City who has trouble controlling and managing his sexual compulsions once his willful younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves in. McQueen co-wrote the script with Abi Morgan (oddly enough, the screenwriter of aforementioned “The Iron Lady,” which doesn’t exactly feel like a potential companion piece), and anticipation is high to see how he follows up on his acclaimed directorial debut. [Peter Knegt]

Simon Killer,” directed by Antonio Campos
After making a splash (and generating comparisons to Michael Haneke) with his film “Afterschool,” Antonio Campos is back with two new films. The first of which, “Simon Killer,” looks likely for a festival debut in the near future. The film stars Brady Corbet and Mati Diop as a couple who develop a relationship in Paris’ less picturesque neighborhoods. If all goes well, this should be just what the world needs: An ominous take on anti-romance classic “Before Sunrise.” [Bryce J. Renninger]

The Sitter,” directed by David Gordon Green
The “Pineapple Express” director’s latest is described as a comedy “about a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him.” Starring Jonah Hill (“Superbad”), Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor (“Mystic River”) and Method Man (“8 Mile”) the film may land a spot at the upcoming fall fests. Green won a Discovery Award way back in 2000 for “George Washington” (tied with “101 Reykjavik”) at the Toronto International Film Festival. [Brian Brooks]

Take This Waltz,” directed by Sarah Polley
Sarah Polley’s directorial follow-up to “Away From Her,” “Take This Waltz” is a romantic comedy that stars Michelle Williams as a woman torn between her loving husband (Seth Rogen) and a sexy new dude she meets during a “steamy Toronto summer” (Luke Kirby). The film finished shooting last fall, and a hometown debut for Polley’s film seems all but assured. The script (also written by Polley) made the Blacklist a few years back and is truly fantastic, so it will be looking to win over critics (and buyers, as the film does not have a U.S. distributor) come September. It would also mark potential fall fest double dips for both Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”) and Rogen (“50/50”). [Peter Knegt]

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” directed by Tomas Alfredsson
“Let the Right One In” director Tomas Alfredsson teams up with “The Queen” scribe Peter Morgan on an adaptation of John le Carré’s British Secret Intelligence Service spy story of the same name. It’ll be interesting to see how Alfredsson’s direction adapts to a piece whose premise differs so much from the creepy, quiet vampire flick that put him on the global cinema map. With Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, and Colin Firth leading the cast, we suspect we’re in good hands. [Bryce J. Renninger]

Twixt Now and Sunrise,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Coppola’s next outing is a thriller that apparently grew out of a dream he had last year, he noted in an interview to the New York Times, according to a Facebook page for the film, saying, “[It was] more of a nightmare” and “seemed to have the imagery of Hawthorne or Poe.” Apparently shooting around his Napa County estate in California in addition to other locales, the cast includes Elle Fanning, Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern and Ben Chaplin. [Brian Brooks]

Wanderlust,” directed by David Wain
“Wet Hot American” summer director David Wain’s upcoming comedy boasts a cast including Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Lauren Ambrose and Alan Alda. Aniston and Rudd (who last starred together in “The Object of My Affection”) star as a married couple who try flee to Georgia after the husband loses his job in New York. On the way there, they stay at a bed and breakfast that turns out to be a hippie commune. The comedy is produced by Judd Apatow, so expect a lot of well-earned dirty laughs. It’s slated to hit in early October, so a Toronto bow seems likely. [Nigel M. Smith]

W.E.,” directed by Madonna
Early anticipation had Madonna presenting her sophomore directorial effort — which stars Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaac and follows parallel stories of the early 20th century love affair between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII and a modern romance — at Cannes. That didn’t happen, but now that Madonna’s teaming up with The Weinstein Company to release the film this December, it’ll be hard to resist making a few red carpet splashes. Whether that involves Venice, Telluride and/or Toronto remains to be seen (as does whether or not Madonna can direct a good movie). But one thing’s for sure: Any festival would clearly love the publicity Madge would bring with her. Variety reported that the film has indeed been submitted to Venice. [Peter Knegt]

Wuthering Heights,” directed by Andrea Arnold
A departure from her “Red Road” and “Fish Tank,” British director Andrea Arnold is back with her Emily Brontë adaptatiion “Wuthering Heights.” Starring unknown actors Kaya Scodelario, James Howson and Oliver Milburn, the film concluded principal photography last November. With Arnold behind it, the film promises to put a unique spin on the gothic classic and should provide any festival with a definite touch of class. [Peter Knegt]

Young Adult,” directed by Jason Reitman
Jason Reitman films premiere at Toronto. That’s just the way it goes and it’s unlikely to be any different for “Young Adult,” which reteams him with “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody. The film stars Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary, a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). When returning home proves more difficult than she thought, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Patton Oswalt) who hasn’t quite gotten over high school, either. Come September, we’ll see if Reitman’s fourth film has what it takes to his third consecutive best picture nominee. [Peter Knegt]

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