"Devil's Knot" (directed by Atom Egoyan)
Considering Atom Egoyan's Canadian roots, a Toronto premiere seems to be a lock for his latest film, a crime drama based on the infamous "West Memphis Three" 1993 trial involving the incarceration of a trio of teenagers for the murder of three children. The convicted teens were released after the case was reopened in 2010. Showing at Venice would be a first for the director, who has been something of a semi-regular at Cannes with his past work. But with the film's substantial star power, including Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, a visit to the Lido could be a viable way for "Devil's Knot" to gain exposure and build even more awards buzz prior to its yet-to-be-announced fall release date in the US. [Clint Holloway]
"Diana" (directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel) and "Grace of Monaco" (directed by Olivier Dahan)
These dueling tales of contemporary, beloved princesses are both slated for year-end releases, and one or both could pop up at a fall festival (though both seem more like Toronto fare than anything else). Starring BFFs Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman as Princess Diana and Princess Grace, respectively, each film takes on a specific period in its subject's life. For Diana, it's the two years leading up to her untimely death in 1997. For Grace, it's a crisis of marriage and identity during a dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle and a looming French military invasion of the principality in the early 1960s. Get ready for the award season battle of the Australian actresses playing princesses? [Peter Knegt]
"The Double" (directed by Richard Ayoade)
Actor/director Richard Ayoade's follow up to his sleeper-hit comedy "Submarine" sees him going into similar territory, featuring Jesse Eisenberg as a man whose life is thrown off of balance by the appearance of a doppelgänger. With "Submarine" having shown at Toronto in 2010, the festival seems like a sold fit for the film, which has not yet announced an official release date. Screening at Telluride right before may also be in the cards for the film, which co-stars Mia Wasikowska and Wallace Shawn. [Clint Holloway]
"An Enemy" and "Prisoners" (both directed by Denis Villeneuve).
It looks like the fall festival circuit could feature a lot of both Denis Villeneuve and Jake Gyllenhaal. French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve ("Incendies") is doubling down with Jake for the former's English-language debuts "Prisoners" and "An Enemy." The first is a Black List project that has been kicking around since 2009 and has finally been given a release date for September 20th (meaning it's primed to hit Toronto, especially given the director is Canadian). Also starring Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrance Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano, the film revolves around a carpenter named Keller Dover (Jackman) whose young daughter and friend are kidnapped. Though Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) is assigned to the case, it is a matter of time before Dover takes matters into his own hands. "An Enemy," meanwhile, is based on José Saramago's novel "The Double" (oddly enough the name of the previous film on his list) and follows a man who rents a movie to find that one of the minor characters is his exact double. Both men are played by Gyllenhaal as the dual characters' lives become intertwined. Like "Prisoners," the film boasts an impressive supporting cast, with Melanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini, and Sarah Gadon co-starring. Will both debut in Toronto? They both seem like they're ready. [Julia Selinger]