TIFF Preview: Movie Fanatic Heads to Toronto

The annual Toronto Film Festival is upon us and Movie Fanatic has packed our bags for Canada to bring our readers all the action from one of the most esteemed film festivals of the year.

TIFF LogoJust to give you a preview of what we’ll be covering film-wise, here is a little snippet of what we have on the schedule, so far!

Moneyball: Brad Pitt stars in the true tale of how the Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane managed to create a team of misfits who set records and made baseball history by working within the framework of a team payroll that was the lowest in Major League Baseball.  We’re checking out the film and scored video interviews with its cast!

Machine Gun Preacher: Gerard Butler headlines this true story of a former drug addict who heads to Africa in an effort to save the youngest citizens of that continent from strife, war and famine. Movie Fanatic is set to see the film Friday and chat with the cast over the weekend.

Martha Marcy May Marlene: We’ve already had the pleasure of an advance screening for this stunner that should make its star, Elizabeth Olsen, a superstar. Movie Fanatic has exclusive interviews scheduled with the film’s cast including Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy.

Restless: The latest film from the visual maven, Gus Van Sant, stars Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper. Restless is the story of a terminally sick girl (Wasikowska) who falls in love with a boy with the most interesting of hobbies: He enjoys attending funerals. Restless is a classic film festival entry and with Van Sant directing, it should be as powerful as anything he’s ever shot.

The Ides of March: Ryan Gosling and George Clooney star in this political drama that already has some serious Oscar buzz going for it. The Ides of March is based on the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon and also stars Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei. The film is the latest directorial effort from Clooney and don’t miss our exclusive interview with star Max Minghella.

The Ides of March Poster
Anonymous: Director Roland Emmerich asks: What if Shakespeare was a fraud? Movie Fanatic is most excited to witness this story in Toronto and chat with the film’s stars including exclusive interviews with Jamie Campbell Bower and Rafe Spall. The all-star cast also includes Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave.

50/50: An astounding piece of filmmaking, 50/50 stars Joseph Gordon Levitt as a twenty-something man who discovers he has cancer. Immediately doctors give his chance of survival at the titular figure. As his co-star Seth Rogen says so eloquently in the trailer, “If you were a Vegas game, you’d have the best odds.” It’s that kind of optimism that is peppered throughout 50/50 and it is easily one of the best films of 2011. Look for our Movie Fanatic chat with Gordon Levitt, Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and the writer of the film — whose story the film is based on — Will Reiser.

This preview is merely the beginning of our Toronto Film Festival coverage. Don’t miss a moment with Movie Fanatic as we head to Toronto to bring you the very best film has to offer in 2011.

Dark Knight Rises Set Photos: Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway are Dapper

The Dark Knight Rises continues to buzz its fans with photos and video from the film’s set. The latest photos show its stars, Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway, out of their Batman and Catwoman costumes looking quite elegant in their “street” clothes.

Anne Hathaway on the Dark Knight Rises set
The photos are from JustJared and illustrate that even when it comes to wardrobe, Christopher Nolan has assembled a fantastic team worthy of continuing the legendary, and Oscar-winning, franchise.

Below, the always amazing Bale gets suited up as Bruce Wayne and above, we have Hathaway as Catwoman’s alter ego, Selina Kyle.

Christian Bale is Bruce WayneThe Dark Knight Rises will rise in theaters in July 2012.

Rum Diary Poster Premieres: Johnny Depp’s Rum!

The Rum Diary poster has arrived and judging by its composition, the underlying fuel behind the story is visibly rum. Johnny Depp starring in a film with rum at its center and it’s not based around pirating?

Rum Diary Poster

Movie Fanatic recently debuted The Rum Diaries trailer and the response was immense. Audiences are eager to witness Depp back in a role crafted from the mind of Hunter S. Thompson. The actor previously headlined Terry Gilliam’s page to screen adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And some have said that Depp was channeling a bit of Thompson in his performance in Rango.

In the film that debuts October 28, Depp is a writer, Paul Kemp, who ventures to Puerto Rico for a position at a newspaper. He is joined by a stellar cast including Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins, Giovani Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart and Amber Heard.

Beyond Fear and Loathing and the Rango inspired characterization, Depp’s passion for Thompson knows no end. He narrated Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson documentary on the esteemed author’s life.

Contagion Q&A: Laurence Fishburne Fights for our Survival

Laurence Fishburne has been fighting the cinematic fight for decades. In fact, the Oscar nominee’s first film was in the war classic Apocalypse Now. Through Boyz n the Hood, The Matrix and now Contagion, Fishburne excels at portraying characters that must persevere, despite all the cards stacked against them.

Laurence Fishburne, Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Ehle in Contagion
Fishburne is Dr. Ellis Cheever in Contagion, a man at the center of an international epidemic that threatens to wipe out the world’s population. He is the head of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) as news breaks that a character portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow has returned from a trip to Asia and died 48 hours later. Soon two deaths becomes four, four explodes to 400 and before long, audiences are on the verge of witnessing 40 million succumb to the mysterious illness.

The film is managed with grace by director Steven Soderbergh, who has made a star player out of Fishburne’s character that sits in the midst of a true ensemble film. As he goes, the story follows.

Fishburne visited with Movie Fanatic to talk Contagion, whether he’s someone who is taken aback by the idea of germs wiping out the planet and how amongst the chaos of Contagion’s action, the former CSI star most treasured his time acting opposite his movie fiancé, played by Sanaa Lathan.

Movie Fanatic: How did you wrap your head around playing someone at the center of an unprecedented human race crisis, who still has the presence of mind to think and help the people he loves? How complex was that to play?

Laurence Fishburne: It wasn’t really that complex to me once I talked to Dr. Lumpkin (of the CDC) who had real strong opinions about how all of this should play out. He was with us every day and he really is committed to what he does. He loves what he does. So we’d be working and he’d be on his phone and he’d go, “Let me show you this.” It’d be something that could potentially be an outbreak. Almost every day, he’d have some new disease that the CDC is tracking and keeping an eye on. So it became really easy just to sort of go, “Oh, right. So the stakes for this thing — you do are always here.” [Fishburne motions his head way above his head.] The personal stuff that I have as Ellis Cheever with telling my fiancé soon-to-be-wife Sanaa Lathan to get out of town, to leave, to pack up, to not talk to anyone, that’s really easy. Any human being in this situation is going to do that.

Laurence Fishburne in Contagion

Movie Fanatic: You mention Sanaa Lathan, what a treasure she is as an actress. Were the scenes with her as much fun to film as we had watching?

Laurence Fishburne: It was wonderful playing with Sanaa — thanks for saying that, it’s nice to know that feeling is there. It’s beautiful. It was as nice playing with Sanaa as it was playing with Jennifer [Ehle].

Movie Fanatic: The science aspect of the film was so impressive. I’m sure Dr. Limpkin helped, but you and Jennifer nailed it…

Laurence Fishburne: I did that for a long time [on CSI]. [Laughs] But I think it’s how I got this job, so it wasn’t all bad [coyly smiles].

Movie Fanatic: You must get dozens of scripts weekly. How did Contagion stand out?

Laurence Fishburne: I was blown away by how smart it was cause a lot of what is being made now is kinda stupid. So I was very honored to be asked to be apart of this. It’s a really smart movie.

Kate Winslet and Laurence Fishburne in Contagion

Movie Fanatic: Has this film made you a germaphobe?

Laurence Fishburne: I ain’t afraid of germs man.

[We Laugh]

Laurence Fishburne: [Continues] And I ain’t afraid of getting sick. Dying, that’s some other (expletive), but the other stuff… [smirks and then smiles].

The Great Gatsby: Leonardo DiCaprio Begins Filming

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic The Great Gatsby is heading to the big screen once again, courtesy of Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann. After Robert Redford filled the Gatsby shoes in 1974, we cannot think of a more perfect choice in the new version to don the dapper look of the 1920s than Leonardo DiCaprio. Luhrmann and DiCaprio have begun principal photography this week on The Great Gatsby which means we’re ever closer than ever to a first look!

Leonardo DiCaprio Cast in Great Gatsby

We cannot imagine what the man behind Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet will be doing with Fitzgerald’s work as this much is known: He’s got a $150 million dollar budget and is shooting the film in 3D. Yes, you read correctly: The Great Gatsby will be in 3D. Those 1920s classic cars will never look so real!

On board for the Gatsby redo besides DiCaprio as Gatsby is Joel Edgerton as Tom, Isla Fisher as Myrtle, Carey Mulligan stars as Daisy, Tobey Maguire is Nick, Jason Clarke plays George while Elizabeth Debicki scores the role of her career as Jordan.