‘Love Actually’ to hit Toronto Int. Film Festival

by W. Andrew Powell
TIFF 2003
TIFF 2003

The 28th annual Toronto International Film Festival has announced five more Special Presentations today, and leading the list is the latest from the man behind Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill.

Director/Screenwriter Richard Curtis helms an all-star cast including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon and Rowan Atkinson in the Special Presentation of a work-in-progress, Love Actually – the ultimate romantic comedy that weaves together a spectacular number of love affairs into one amazing story.

The film is produced by Duncan Kenworthy and Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

Sofia Coppola‘s second film, Lost In Translation, is a Canadian premiere. Bob (Bill Murray), is a movie actor who arrives in Tokyo to shoot a series of whiskey ads. Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a recent philosophy graduate from Yale, is in town with her workaholic photographer husband John (Giovanni Ribisi). Unable to sleep, Bob and Charlotte cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. Their serendipitous meeting evolves into a surprising friendship and as they venture through Tokyo’s dazzling urban landscape, they ultimately discover a new belief in life’s possibilities.

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu returns with 21 Grams, a North American premiere, whose title refers to the amount of weight the human body is said to lose when one dies. A grieving mother (Naomi Watts), a terminally ill professor (Sean Penn) and a spiritual ex-convict (Benicio Del Toro), are brought together by a freak accident. Suffused with themes of grief, loss, regret, redemption, and sacrifice, 21 Grams, offers a complex trilogy intermingling past and present to foreshadow the final, fateful connection among the three principal characters.

Jim Jarmusch‘s Coffee and Cigarettes is the feature film installment in a series of shorts that originally began as a six minute improvisational film in 1986, then evolved with Coffee and Cigarettes: Memphis Version (1989) and Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere In California (1993). In the full-length Coffee and Cigarettes, a North American premiere, each sequence involves several characters sitting around, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and discussing subjects as diverse as caffeine popsicles, Abbott and Costello, Elvis conspiracy theories, and the inventions of Nikola Tesla.

Comprised of 11 stories and strikingly photographed in black and white, Coffee and Cigarettes features an eclectic group of extraordinary actors and musicians, including Roberto Benigni, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, and Cate Blanchett.

The gospel according to John comes to life in director Philip Saville‘s three-hour, sweeping adaptation, The Gospel of John, a North American premiere. The epic takes a contemporary, authentic approach to the story with Christopher Plummer‘s intimate and accessible narration, Henry Ian Cusick‘s fresh, vital performance as Jesus, stunning sets and an original musical score with instrumentation true to the period.

Written by Emmy-nominated screenwriter John Goldsmith, produced by impresario Garth H. Drabinsky, and directed by the award winning Saville, The Gospel of John features 75 principal actors from the Canadian and British stage, as well as over 2000 extras.

The 28th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 4-13, 2003 – find out more on the festival over at www.bell.ca/filmfest.

Stay tuned for more feature coverage from The GATE.

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