Toronto: Netflix's Robert the Bruce Epic 'Outlaw King' to Open Festival

Courtesy of Netflix
'Outlaw King'

After skipping Cannes, the streamer already has seven of its movies, many award season contenders, booked into TIFF.

The world premiere of Netflix's Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine as the legendary Scottish king Robert the Bruce, has been tapped to open the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 6, organizers said Tuesday.

David Mackenzie directed the Scotland-shot period epic, which also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh and Billy Howle. Full of battle scenes as the Scottish king leads his country to freedom from English rule, Outlaw King marks the first time a Netflix movie has opened the Toronto fest, a willing partner for the digital giant. 

Netflix has seven titles in all booked into the Canadian festival's 43rd edition. "We have an amazing cast and crew working at the top of their game, and we are really looking forward to spreading some Scottish goodwill on the great city of Toronto," Mackenzie said in a statement.

After skipping Cannes following the French festival's refusal to show Netflix movies in competition, the streaming service will also receive gala treatment in Roy Thomson Hall for Hold the Dark, from director Jeremy Saulnier and starring Jeffrey Wright and Alexander Skarsgard; and Paul Greengrass' 22 July, the Norwegian terror attack pic that stars Anders Danielsen Lie as lone wolf Anders Breivik.

TIFF earlier announced bookings for four other Netflix movies: Alfonso Cuaron’s ROMA, from the Oscar-winning director of Gravity; Sara Colangelo's Sundance title The Kindergarten Teacher, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal; Nicole Holofcener’s The Land of Steady Habits, starring Ben Mendelsohn and Connie Britton; and Quincy, a documentary about music icon Quincy Jones directed by Rashida Jones, the actress and writer who is Jones' daughter, and Alan Hicks.

TIFF also Tuesday said it will close Sept. 16 with a first look at Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy, the Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern-starrer from director Justin Kelly. The fest also has booked red-carpet screenings of Peter Farrelly's Green Book, which stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali; and The Lie, a drama from The Killing creator Veena Sud and toplined by former Killing star Mireille Enos and Peter Sarsgaard.

Elsewhere, the special presentations sidebar added world premieres for Jake Scott's American Woman, starring Sienna Miller, Amy Madigan, Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks; Tom Harper's Wild Rose, starring Julie Walters; Jonah Hill's directorial debut, Mid90s; Sam Taylor-Johnson's A Million Little Pieces, the movie adaptation of James Frey's best-seller exposed for wrongful invention; and Guy Nattiv's neo-Nazi drama Skin, starring Vera Farmiga and Jamie Bell.

The high-profile sidebar also has world bows for the Elle Fanning-starrer Teen Spirit, the directorial debut of Max Minghella, son of the late Academy Award-winning director Anthony Minghella; Annabel Jankel's Tell It to the Bees, which stars True Blood star Anna Paquin; Maryam Keshavarz's Susan Sarandon-starrer Viper Club; and Chanya Button's Vita & Virginia.

The special presentations program also has world bows for Liu Jie's Baby; Olivier Masset-Depasse's Mother's Instinct; Louis Garrel's A Faithful Man; Sebastian Lelio's Gloria Bell; Thomas Vinterberg's Kursk; and Chen Kaige's Legend of the Demon Cat – Director's Cut.

And there will be international premieres for Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased, a coming-out drama starring Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman; and Naomi Kawase's Vision.

Toronto announced another 27 world premieres for its Contemporary World Cinema sidebar, including Federico Veiroj's Belmonte; The Other Story, by director Avi Nesher; Finnish Oscar nominee Selma Vihunen's Stupid Young Heart; and Carlos Vermut's Quien te Cantara.

Other first looks: Nejib Belkadhi's Look at Me; Klaus Haro's One Last Deal; Rodrigo Sorogoyen's The Realm; Valeria Sarmiento's The Black Book; and Michael Noer's Before the Frost.

Elsewhere, the 2018 Masters lineup has a world premiere for Paolo Sorrentino’s comedy, Loro, which stars Toni Servillo as infamous politician Silvio Berlusconi; and North American bows for Jafar Panahi's 3 Faces; Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book, a Cannes award winner; Christian Petzold’s Transit, an adaptation of Anna Seghers' World War II novel; Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' Our Time; and South Korean helmer Hong Sang-soo's Hotel By the River, a black-and-white drama.

Mike Leigh's Peterloo will also receive a Canadian premiere in Toronto.

The Toronto International Film Festival, which will make additional lineup announcements in the next week, is set to run Sept. 6-16.