Philip Seymour Hoffman will be on the big screen during the Toronto International Film Festival, but it won't be in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's highly anticipated film,"The Master," that's said to be a thinly veiled look at Scientology.
Rather, Hoffman will be seen in Toronto in "A Late Quartet" from writer-director-producer Yaron Zilberman. The film, which will have its world premiere at the fest, features Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir as members of a renowned string quartet whose fate hangs in the balance when one of its own is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
The film is Zilberman's first fictional feature film. He previously directed the documentary "Watermarks," about the Jewish women's swim team from Austria in the 1930s.
It's not the first time a high-profile Anderson flick has skipped Toronto and gone on to award-season glory. Back in 2007, "There Will Be Blood" had no presence at the festival. Rather, clips were shown at the Telluride Film Festival around Labor Day, and the film premiered at Alamo Drafthouse's Fantastic Fest in late September. "There Will Be Blood" went on to be nominated for the best picture Academy Award, and it took home Oscars for Daniel Day-Lewis (lead actor) and cinematography.
Many are speculating that Anderson will return to the Fantastic Fest with "The Master," even though his 1950s-set film about a cult leader named Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman) and his relationship with an outcast (Joaquin Phoenix) seems out of place with the genre-heavy programming of the Austin, Texas, festival. The eight-day event is scheduled to begin Sept. 20. The Toronto festival runs Sept. 6-16.
The Weinstein Co., which is distributing the film, is mum for now on its festival plans, but with an Oct. 12 limited-release date, we should have answers soon.
Hoffman had two films at Toronto last year -- "Ides of March" and"Moneyball." No "Master" this year can only mean good things for Zilberman, who will have his leading man all to himself.
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