TIFF announcements 2018: Ryan Gosling walks on the moon!

By Jim Slotek

We can’t wait to see Ryan Gosling walk on the moon.

In what amounts to an annual tease, the Toronto International Film Festival announced its first round of titles in the Gala and Special Presentation programmes for the 43rd fest, which runs from September 6 to 16

Some 21 world premieres were included among the 43 films announced Tuesday. Major filmmaking names returning to TIFF include Alfonso Cuaron, Oivier Assayas, Claire Denis, Steve McQueen, Barry Jenkins, Zhang Yimou, Jason Reitman and Patricia Rozema.

 Ryan Gosling is astronaut Neil Armstrong in First Man

Ryan Gosling is astronaut Neil Armstrong in First Man

Rozema’s Mouthpiece will open the fest’s Special Presentation category on day one. Based on the play written by and starring Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava. The closer in the category is the Cannes Palme D’Or-winner Shoplifters by Hirokazu Koreeda, about misfits creating a makeshift family in the margins of the city.

Galas announced Tuesday include Beautiful Boy, based on two best-selling books, by father and son David Sheff and Nic Sheff about Nic’s meth addiction. The film stars Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. Another big ticket will be First Man, Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling as first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong.

Also on the gala list, Life Itself, Dan Fogelman’s multi-generational drama set in New York and Spain, with a starry cast that includes Oscar IsaacOlivia WildeMandy PatinkinOlivia CookeLaia CostaAnnette Bening, and Antonio Banderas.

Among the Special Presentations: 

Jenkins, who directed the other film in the 2017 Oscar mixup, Moonlight, also has a “next film.”  If Beale Street Could Talk, based on James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, is a Special Presentations highlight. Others include The Sisters Brothers, Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal in Jacques Audiard‘s film about a pair of assassins in 1850s Oregon and High Life, the English-language directorial debut of Claire Denis (Beau travail) starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche.

Gyllenhaal also co-stars with Carey Mulligan in Wildlife, Paul Dano’s directorial debut, an adaptation of the Richard Ford novel, a child’s eye view of his parents’ marriage falling apart in the ‘60s.

 Jake Gyllenhaal and Joaquin Phoenix in The Sisters Brothers

Jake Gyllenhaal and Joaquin Phoenix in The Sisters Brothers

Reitman (Juno) has The Front Runner, a recounting of the hubris and extramarital affairs that brought down presidential candidate Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman). 

And the hometown buzz is high on Giant Little Ones, Canadian Keith Behrman’s drama starring Kyle MacLachlan and Maria Bello as parents of a small-town teen (Josh Wiggins) whose sexuality becomes the object of gossip after an incident at a party.