At a press conference this morning, TIFF co-directors Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey revealed several dozen titles in the Gala and Special Presentations programs, including this year's opening night film, Rian Johnson's Looper - a time-travel thriller in which a young hitman discovers that his latest target is an older version of himself.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play the two leads, with Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels in supporting roles.
"This is a new kind of opening night [film]," Bailey said. "An exciting thinking-person's action film from a director who really understands genre."
Video by Graeme Phillips and Andrew Williamson
Gala titles include Mehta's Midnight's Children, the Canadian filmmaker's highly anticipated adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel about the intertwined lives of two babies born the day India declared its independence; Nadda's Inescapable, starring Alexander Siddig as a Syrian émigré called back to Damascus to find his missing daughter; and Affleck's Argo, a thriller about the CIA's attempts to extract six Americans from the Canadian embassy in Tehran by devising a cover story about a science-fiction film scouting locations.
Affleck also turns up alongside Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams in Terrence Malick's To The Wonder, which makes its North American premiere at TIFF as a Special Presentation.
Other world-premiere Galas include Roger Michell's Hyde Park On Hudson, starring Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt and Samuel West and Olivia Colman as the King and Queen of England; Mike Newell's Great Expectations, a new take on Charles Dickens's epic novel starring Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter.
Among the world premieres in the Special Presentations program are Dustin Hoffman's Quartet, which finds the actor directing Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins in a comedy about aging opera singers; Neil Jordan's Byzantium, a supernatural story featuring Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley and Saoirse Ronan; Cloud Atlas, the mysterious collaboration between Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski starring Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant; and A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story Of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, a documentary about the late comic and author featuring his fellow legends, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
Also making their debut at TIFF are Foxfire and Frances Ha, new films from Laurent Cantet and Noah Baumbach about which the festival is saying absolutely nothing, as well as End Of Watch, Harsh Times director David Ayer's latest look at Los Angeles authority figures, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña and Anna Kendrick; Andrew Adamson's Mr. Pip, starring Hugh Laurie and Xzannjah Matsi in a tale of mistaken identity and encroaching war set in 1991 Papua, New Guinea; and Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines, which reunites the director with Blue Valentine star Ryan Gosling for a thriller about the layered relationship between a bank robber and a police officer (Bradley Cooper, who also turns up in the Gala entry Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell Three Kings and featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro).
And then there's Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, a Shakespeare adaptation shot by the Avengers director in 12 days - in his own home - with a group of very talented friends that includes Alexis Denisof (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel) Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse, The Cabin In The Woods), Nathan Fillion (Serenity, Firefly, Buffy) and Clark Gregg (The Avengers). This is bound to be one of the biggest draws of the festival, based on Whedon's ferociously loyal following alone.
International premieres in the Gala program include Redford's The Company You Keep, in which the Oscar-winning filmmaker plays a lawyer forced onto the run after a journalist (Shia LaBeouf) exposes him as a murder suspect; Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a political thriller starring Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland that's been tapped to open the Venice Film Festival; and Billy Bob Thornton's first feature as a director in more than a decade, Jayne Mansfield's Car, a generational comedy starring Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon and Thornton.
In the Special Presentations series, Joe Wright's Anna Karenina reunites the director once more with Keira Knightley, who starred in his films of Pride And Prejudice and Atonement; Ana Piterbarg's Everybody Has A Plan casts Viggo Mortensen as a man who assumes his twin brother's identity; Ariel Vromen's The Iceman stars Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder and Chris Evans in the true story of the hitman Richard Kuklinski, and Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg's Kon-Tiki, based on the dramatic 1947 Pacific crossing of Thor Heyerdahl. (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, who co-starred in the duo's Max Manus: Man Of War, plays the adventurer.)
Tucked into the announcements were five titles that premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival: Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt stars Mads Mikkelsen (who won that festival's Best Actor prize) as a single father whose life becomes a nightmare when he's falsely accused of a terrible crime; Jacques Audiard's Rust And Bone, a love story about deeply damaged people starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard, and Matteo Garrone's Reality, about an ordinary Italian swept up in a dream of television stardom, which won the festival's Grand Prize.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16, 2012. Complete announcements will be posted at tiff.net.