Five titles likely to generate strong sales buzz in Toronto
Inspired by real events that prove truth is indeed stranger than fiction, two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey stars in the title role of "Casino Jack," an irreverent look at the misadventures of disgraced businessman Jack Abramoff. Together with business partner Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper), the ethically challenged Abramoff uses his connections to the rich and powerful to amass as much wealth as humanly possible. But when his schemes spin out of control, he finds himself in the midst of a scandal that makes global headlines thanks to his cozy relationship to figures in the Bush administration. George Hickenlooper ("Factory Girl") directs from an original script by Norman Snider ("Dead Ringers").
Domestic sales: CAA
International: Hannibal Pictures
"Everything Must Go"
Based on a short story by Raymond Carver, Will Ferrell stars as Nick Porter, a salesman whose life implodes after he loses his job and returns home to discover his wife has changed the locks on their suburban home and thrown all his belongings on the front yard. Faced with an uncertain future, Nick decides to seize the moment and have a yard sale that will change his life forever. Written and directed by newcomer Dan Rush, "Everything Must Go" co-stars Rebecca Hall ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona") and Laura Dern ( "Inland Empire").
Domestic sales: ICM and CAA
International: IM Global
Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Mordecai Richler, "Barney's Version" revolves around Barney Panofsky, (Paul Giamatti), a seemingly ordinary man whose candid confessional takes us through the various "acts" of an extraordinary life. Spanning four decades and two continents, Barney's tale includes three wives -- one of which he begins pursuing at his second wedding -- and the ways in which they shaped his life. Produced by Robert Lantos, who worked for more than a decade to bring Richler's sprawling narrative to the screen, the film is directed by television veteran Richard J. Lewis.
Domestic sales: Essential Entertainment/
Serendipity Point Films
International: Essential Entertainment
"What's Wrong With Virginia"
Written and directed by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk"), this offbeat drama stars Jennifer Connelly as a charming-yet-troubled mother whose illegitimate son, Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson), may very well be the offspring of the local sheriff, Dick Tipton (Ed Harris), a respected -- and very married -- family man running for public office. Small-town scandal threatens to ensue when Emmett begins a romantic relationship with Tipton's daughter (Emma Roberts).
Domestic sales: CAA
Set in Oklahoma in 1987, newcomer Juno Temple stars as Danielle, the "dirty girl" of Norman High. After Danielle's outrageous behavior gets her banished to special ed, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Clarke (Jeremy Dozier), a friendless gay closet case on the verge of being sent to military school by his homophobic father. Despite having no money and few prospects, the two misfits decide to head to California in search of the father Danielle has never met. Featuring a soundtrack laden with '80s hits, "Dirty Girl's" eclectic cast includes Milla Jovovich, Mary Steenburgen, William H. Macy, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw.
Domestic sales: Mark Anker/WME
International: The Salt Co.