Six more actors (here are the first five) are working double time at the Toronto Film Festival this year: Rachel Weisz (360, The Deep Blue Sea), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March, Moneyball), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding), Seth Rogen (50/50, Take This Waltz), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter, Machine Gun Preacher) and Jessica Chastain (Coriolanus, Take Shelter). Consider their Toronto track records below. Who will come out on top?
Though it did not play Toronto, Weisz won Best Supporting Actress in 2005 for The Constant Gardener. In 2006, Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain played the fest, followed by 2009’s Agora and 2010’s The Whistleblower, both of which failed to get Weisz any major attention. She returns this year with Fernando Mereilles’ 360 and Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea (pictured), co-starring Tom Hiddleston.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
Boogie Nights screened at Toronto in 1997, Happiness in 1998, Magnolia in 1999, Almost Famous in 2000, Punch Drunk Love in 2002, Capote (for which he won the Best Actor Oscar in 2006) in 2005, The Savages and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead in 2007, Synecdoche, New York and Doubt (nominated, Best Supporting Actor in 2009) in 2008, and Jack Goes Boating in 2010. Hoffman’s other Supporting Actor Oscar nom was for Charlie Wilson’s War in 2008. Hoffman returns with supporting roles in George Clooney’s The Ides of March (with Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and Paul Giamatti) and Bennett Miller’s long-awaited follow-up to Capote, Moneyball (pictured, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill).
Olsen is a newbie to Toronto, and every other fest for that matter. Martha Marcy May Marlene (co-starring Sarah Paulson and John Hawkes) did very well at Sundance, earning a directing award for Dean Durkin and outing Olsen as a breakout star; Fox Searchlight hopes to continue pushing her into possible awards contention at Toronto, positioning her as this year’s Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone. Bruce Beresford’s Peace, Love & Misunderstanding will debut at Toronto, co-starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chace Crawford, Catherine Keener and Kyle Machlachlan.
Another newbie, Rogen will co-star with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in cancer-dramedy Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 (he also produced) and with Michelle Williams in Sarah Polley’s relationship drama Take This Waltz (pictured), both premiering at Toronto.
Shannon appeared in 8 Mile, which premiered at Toronto in 2002, and returned in 2004 with The Woodsman, followed by 2007’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, 2009’s The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (both from director Werner Herzog) and 2010’s The Runaways. He returns this year with Jeff Nichols’ Sundance entry Take Shelter (pictured), hot off a Critics’ Week Grand Prize at Cannes and a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance (co-starring Chastain), as well as Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher, which stars Gerard Butler. Shannon’s only Oscar nom came in 2008 for Revolutionary Road (best supporting actor).
The Debt played Toronto in 2010 (and will be released August 31), and after making a name for herself in The Tree of Life at Cannes, Chastain returns to Toronto with supporting roles in Coriolanus (Dir: Ralph Fiennes, Co-stars: Fiennes, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain, Vanessa Redgrave, James Nesbitt) and Take Shelter (pictured).
Shannon and Olsen deliver in juicy roles in Take Shelter and Martha Marcy May Marlene, respectively, but both films are small, from young filmmakers outside Academy circles. They’ll need serious noise from Toronto critics. Chastain offers riveting support in both The Tree of Life and Take Shelter. Weisz could get lost in the shuffle in the ensemble 360.