Netflix may have been left out of the Cannes Film Festival this year, but the streaming outlet is dominating the fall festival season — including scoring the opening night slot at the Toronto International Film Festival.
David Mackenzie’s “Outlaw King,” starring Chris Pine, will be the festival’s opening night gala presentation on Sept. 6, two months ahead of its Netflix release on November 9.
“Outlaw King” reunites Pine with his “Hell or High Water” director for the story of Robert the Bruce, the 14th century Scottish king who reclaimed the throne from the English crown and its army. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh and Billy Howle also star.
Netflix ran into conflict earlier this year with Cannes over France’s strict policy on streaming windows for theatrical releases, which ultimately led to the distributor pulling its films from consideration for the festival. By landing TIFF’s opening night slot, Netflix now looks to be a dominant force at the Canadian festival with multiple high-profile films in the program, including Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” and Nicole Holofcener’s “The Land of Steady Habits.”
“We are delighted to be the first Scottish film ever to open Toronto,” David Mackenzie said in a statement. “Scotland and Canada’s histories are bound together, forged in the crucible of the struggles of history, bringing this day an affinity and sensibility that I hope will translate to a profound, visceral and riotously entertaining experience.”
TIFF additionally announced that Justin Kelly’s “Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy,” starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern, will close the festival, which runs through Sept. 16.
“Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy” is adapted from Savannah Knoop’s memoir “Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy,” about the literary scandal that erupted when it was revealed that Knoop had been publicly portraying the young literary sensation whose work was actually being written by Laura Albert. Kristen Stewart plays Knoop, while Laura Dern plays Albert with a cast that also includes Diane Kruger, Jim Sturgess, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Courtney Love and James Jagger.
“I can’t wait for people to see the fascinating true story behind JT LeRoy, brought to life via incredible performances by a total dream cast,” said Kelly in a statement.