Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

First three Irish features for Toronto confirmed

Is it that time already? Not really. But some smoke signals have emerged.

Tue, Jul 26, 2016, 22:05


Jim Sheridan’s adaptation of Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture has been lurking in the pre-release ether for some time. Jim and team will have been far from delighted when Relativity Media, who acquired the US release in 2014, went bust, but the film has now passed on to another distributor. We thought we might see it at Cannes, but the potential Oscar-bait always felt more like a Toronto sort of release. So it has transpired. We learnt today that The Secret Scripture is one of three Irish releases to secure an early berth at the autumnal event. Rooney Mara, Vanessa Redgrave, Jack Reynor and Aidan Turner are among the starry cast. ”It was so good to be back home to make this film,” Jim said. “I loved bringing Sebastian Barry’s moving novel to the big screen and I feel honoured for the freedom he gave me. Irish novels and stories are loved by people all over the world. Like Robbie Brady, I hope we can hit the back of the net with this one like Room and Brooklyn did. Fingers crossed.  I’m also delighted to have a chance to bring the amazing cast back together for the world premiere.”

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Also premiering at Toronto are Alan Gilsenan’s Unless, an adaptation of a Carol Shields novel starring the great Catherine Keener, and Aisling Walsh’s Maudie. Walsh’s film stars Sally Hawkins in a study of the fascinating Nova Scotian folk artist Maud Lewis. Sounds delicious.

The festival is to open with Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and at least four other people. Other world premieres announced in today’s opening salvo include Oliver Stone’s Snowden, Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi adventure Arrival, Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon and Rob Reiner’s  LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson as the late Texan president.  Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, a musical featuring Ryan Gosling, is also kicking up a great deal of excitement. Read more from our friends at The Playlist here.