Toronto Film Festival Announces Impressive Lineup

Despite a SARS scare and last week’s power blackout, the Toronto Int’l Film Festival seems to be gearing up for one of its best film forays ever. The festival, which announced the lineup Tuesday, have gathered an eclectic mix of high-end product, as well as attracted some major Hollywood players to attend, Variety reports.

Among the films being showcased: Carl Franklin‘s thriller Out of Time, starring Denzel Washington; Richard Linklater‘s comedy School of Rock, with Jack Black and Joan Cusack; Ridley Scott‘s con-man dramedy Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell; and Joel Schumacher‘s IRA flick Veronica Guerin, with Cate Blanchett. Director Jane Campion‘s erotic thriller In the Cut which stars Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo, will premiere in Toronto, bucking the New Zealand director’s trend of premiering her films at the Venice Films Festival.

Variety reports other prominent festival fare include the period drama The Girl With a Pearl Earring, which is an adaptation of the Tracy Chevalier bestseller novel of the same name and stars Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth and Tom Wilkinson; Robert Altman‘s backstage ballet opus The Company; Miramax’s Philip Roth adaptation The Human Stain directed by Robert Benton and starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman; and Michael Winterbottom-directed sci-fi drama Code 46, with Samantha Morton and Tim Robbins.

According to Variety, the Toronto organizers have also confirmed a long list of A-list attendees including Blanchett, Kidman, Altman, Washington and Hopkins. Having to overcome some significant obstacles such as SARS and blackouts, the festival organizers feel very confident about this year’s event.

“Barring a rain of frogs or a plague of locusts, I think we’re good to go,” fest managing director Michele Maheux told Variety. Fest director Piers Handling also admitted that the SARS threat worried organizers, but said the show would plow on. “We went through 9/11–it was in the middle of the festival. We will roll with the punches.”

The festival runs Sept. 4-13.