James Franco, Reese Witherspoon among stars to attend TIFF 2014

Get ready to rub elbows or just snap a pic with your favorite celebrity! TIFF announced its celebrity guest list today. Adam Sandler was in Toronto this year among other celebs filming movies and he’ll be making an appearance at TIFF. Also keep a look out for Robert Downey Jr. as his film The Judge opens the festival this year. Kate Winslet will be at TIFF as her film A Little Chaos by actor/director Alan Rickman is the closing film at the festival. Reese Witherspoon will also be in attendance promoting the highly anticipated Wild

If the rumors are true, you could find yourself partying with Bill Murray, if the mood strikes him. Also look for Denzel Washington, who is attending  the premiere of his film The Equalizer, Steve Carell, Al Pacino, Tina Fey, Dustin Hoffman, Jennifer Aniston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Julianne Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Octavia Spencer, Ben Stiller, Channing Tatum, Diane Keaton and John Travolta.

The festival will have a total of 285 features and 108 shorts. TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey says, “It’s a really strong line-up. We’re thrilled with it.” Cameron is confident about the lineup this year saying, “We never get every film that’s out there in the fall and nor could we show them all. We have to make choices sometimes and sometimes films and film companies make choices of their own as well.”

This year’s TIFF sees a few films which have double duty actors, who are also directing their films. Alan Rickman is attending for his TIFF closing night film, A Little Chaos, Ethan Hawke for Seymour: An Introduction, which is about pianist Seymour Bernstein. Toronto will be the first North American release of James Franco‘s The Sound and the Fury, based on the classic William Faulkner novel, with James also attending the festival. James Franco’s film is not the only one premiering at the festival – a total of 143 films will have their world premiere at the fest.

TIFF co-director Piers Handling says of the actors pulling double duty as directors or producers as well as acting on their films, “The studio films give them a certain kind of satisfaction but they’re (actors) looking to spread their wings in more independent work.” Notably two producers/actors with films in the fest are Robert Downey Jr. in The Judge and Chris Evans’ who also makes his directorial debut in Before We Go.

59 new film titles were added to the TIFF list today and there seems to be a heavy presence of films from China. TIFF co-director Piers Handling says, “As China tries to engage with the world and makes films that are more commercial, and less arthouse-driven, it is terrific for us to be a platform for this.”

Pedestrians should be aware that during the festival this year, King Street West between Peter Street and University Avenue is promoted as a “festival Street” with art, food trucks, music festivals and a “board game concierge” from Toronto’s famed Bloor bar and board game haven Snakes & Lattes.

The Toronto International Film Festival starts September 4 and runs until September 14th. The fest opens with The Judge, starring two great Roberts, Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. ~Andrea Hodgins

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