The Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness sidebar opens with: Weird: The Story of Al Yankovic, with Daniel Radcliffe playing the prolific musician behind humorous tracks like ‘Eat It’ and ‘Amish Paradise’.
Eric Appel directs the biopic for The Roku Channel, which also stars Evan Rachel Wood, which will have its world premiere at TIFF at the Royal Alexandra Theater on September 8.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a more appropriate opening film than Weird: The Story of Al Yankovic — a beautifully insane biopic, made in the great Midnight film tradition of challenging convention and finding your own way, however weird,” said Peter Kuplowsky, curator of Midnight Madness, in a statement Thursday.
The latest additions to the Toronto Film Festival also include the lineups for the Discovery and Wavelengths programs to be revealed on Thursday.
Blood-filled Midnight Madness show has world arcs for Tim Story’s horror comedy The blackening, starring Dewayne Perkins and Grace Byers; John Hyams’ sick, a pandemic drama co-written by Kevin Williamson, in which best friends quarantine alone at a family lake house, or so they think; and that of Vera Drew The People’s Jokerwho re-imagines the comic book villain franchise as a queer coming-of-age picture.
Other world premieres for the Midnight Madness program include: F/H/S/99a new film from the found footage anthology franchise F/H/S, this time directed by Flying Lotus, Johannes Roberts, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Vanessa Winter and Joseph Winter; Genre actor of Kim Hongsun Project Wolf Hunting; Spanish horror veteran Jaume Balagueró’s Venus, starring Ester Exposito; and Jalmari Helander’s World War II action movie Sisualready picked up by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.
The Midnight Madness program ends with Leonor will never diedirected by Martika Ramirez Escobar, while there is a North American premiere for Ti West’s Pearl after an SXSW debut. In A24’s prequel horror film, Mia Goth plays a young woman seeking fame and wielding a pitchfork on her family’s isolated farm.
TIFF also announced that the Discovery sidebar will open with Elegance Bratton’s narrative directorial debut. The inspectionstars Gabrielle Union and Jeremy Pope in a drama about a young gay man who enlists in the Marines to gain his mother’s approval.
The Emerging Directors Sidebar Also Gives Worldly Bows to Sophie Kargman’s Dark Comedy Thriller Susie is looking for, starring Kiersey Clemons; Bess Wohl’s Baby Ruby, where a mother battles postpartum depression and her baby’s apparent hostility; Marian Mathias’ runner, a relationship drama set in the US Midwest; Aitch Alberto’s Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe, with Eva Longoria and Eugenio Derbez; and Benjamin Millepied’s carmena contemporary retelling of the popular opera starring Paul Mescal (Normal People).
Also booked in the Discovery program is Laura Baumeister’s Daughter of Rage; the first Nicaraguan feature film directed by a woman; The satire of Basil Khalil A Gaza weekend; Davit Pirtskhalavas A long pause; Return to Seoul, directed by Davy Chou; Angela Wanjiku Wamais Shimoni; Selcen Ergun’s Snow and the Bear; Jub Clerc’s Sweet As; The Taste of Apples is Red, directed by Ehab Tarabieh; and Malou Reymann’s unmanageable.
The Discovery sidebar will also play a slew of movies from emerging Canadian directors, including Chandler Levack’s i like movies, about a self-obsessed teen chasing his dreams and testing relationships in 1990s Ontario suburbs; Joseph Amenta’s Pussy; Gail Maurice’s Rosie; VT Nayani’s This place; Sophie Jarvis’s Until branches bend; When the morning comes by Kelly Fyffe-Marshall; Sheila Pyes The young arsonists; and Something you said last nightdirected by Luis De Filippis, whose short film For Nonna Anna earned a special jury award at Sundance.
Elsewhere, Toronto’s Wavelengths Program for Experimental Work Booked a Globe for Antoine Bourge’s Concrete Valleya drama about a doctor from Syria, played by Hussam Douhna, who struggles with his wife and son to adjust to a new life in Canada while living and working in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighborhood.
There are North American debuts for The Humani Corporis Fabrica, by directors Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor; Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queiros’ Running on dry groundAlbert Serras Pacificationand Queens of the Qing Dynasty, directed by Ashley McKenzie.
The Toronto Film Festival, which will take place September 8-18, previously announced that the Working Title and Netflix drama the swimmers, Sally El Hosaini’s drama about real-life sisters on an inspiring odyssey as refugees from war-torn Syria to the 2016 Rio Olympics will open the 2022 edition.