Toronto: Denzel Washington's 'Roman J. Israel, Esq.' Sets World Premiere

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Writer-director Dan Gilroy is bringing his legal thriller for Sony to TIFF after debuting 'Nightcrawler' here three years ago.

Dan Gilroy’s legal thriller Roman J. Israel, Esq., starring Denzel Washington, is headed to Toronto for a world premiere, completing the lineup for the Special Presentations sidebar, organizers said Thursday.

TIFF debuted Nightcrawler three years ago and also gave a world bow to Training Day, which earned Washington a best actor Oscar. The track record encouraged the return gig in Toronto for Gilroy and Washington, with the world premiere nabbed away from Telluride. 

“We always hoped to premiere at Toronto and couldn't be happier that TIFF audiences will be the first to see the film,” Gilroy said in a statement. With an awards season push in mind, Sony is also looking to a Toronto launch ahead of a theatrical release for Roman J. Israel, Esq. from Nov. 3.

The film portrays a Los Angeles attorney, played by Washington, who is offered a job at a prestigious law firm after the death of his longtime partner.

He takes on a case that has life-altering repercussions. "A project that teams up both of these remarkable creators is one not to be missed," TIFF artistic creator Cameron Bailey said of the Gilroy and Washington collaboration in his own statement.

Toronto also had the Washington starrer The Magnificent Seven as its opening-night film last year. Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo also star in Roman J. Israel, Esq., a film co-produced and co-financed by Sony Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Charles D. King's Macro, the Culture China - Image Nation Abu Dhabi Content Fund, Topic and Bron.

The 42nd Toronto Film Festival is set to run from Sept. 7-17.

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