Edward Snowden

Oliver Stone’s Snowden, about NSA whistle-blower, to premiere at Toronto film festival

Biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt among a number of films getting first outings at September event that’s a launch pad for awards season; others include Magnificent Seven remake, Lyndon Johnson biopic LBJ

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 10:38am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 11:04am

Director Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the 1960s Western The Magnificent Seven is expected to kick off the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, which will include movies about whistle-blower Edward Snowden and former US president Lyndon Johnson among the usual Oscar hopefuls.

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The 10-day festival, now in its 41st year, has become a launching pad for Hollywood’s awards season, with films such as 12 Years a Slave, The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire all gaining critical momentum in Toronto before going on to win the Academy Awards for best picture.

Organisers say the festival is expected to start with the world premiere of The Magnificent Seven. The film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgaard.

Fuqua’s remake of the 1960 original tells the story of the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, played by Sarsgaard, and the mercenaries hired to protect the townspeople.

The festival will close with the world premiere of Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen, which tells the tale of an awkward high school student, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who gains the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy played by Hayden Szeto. The film also stars Woody Harrelson.

Biographical films feature prominently in the festival’s high-profile gala and special presentation programs.

Oliver Stone, known for the gangster movie Scarface and the financial drama Wall Street, directs Snowden, which features Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the personal story of the titular polarising figure who exposed US illegal surveillance.

Why Oliver Stone’s new Snowden film almost never made it to theatres

Rob Reiner, known for the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally ... and the courtroom drama A Few Good Men, directed LBJ, in which Harrelson portrays the former president.

The festival runs until September 18.