London fest kicking off with Cronenberg


LONDON -- David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises" will open this year's 51st annual London Film Festival, organizers said Tuesday.

The London-set thriller, written by Steven Knight ("Dirty Pretty Things"), reunites Cronenberg with his "History of Violence" star Viggo Mortensen and also stars Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

The plot centers on mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Mortensen), who is tied to one of London's most notorious organized Russian crime families. The movie is produced by Paul Webster and Robert Lantos, co-produced by Tracey Seaward and executive produced by Stephen Garret, David Thompson, Jeff Abberley and Julia Blackman.

Pathe will release the film in the U.K. in the fall.

"It's hugely exciting that a director who has consistently thrilled and challenged us throughout his career has made a film in our city," festival artistic director Sandra Hebron said. "This gripping, powerfully directed and acted story of lives colliding in contemporary London is the perfect opener for our festival."

Cronenberg said he couldn't wait to be in London, "the scene of the crime," to share his movie.