UPDATED with additional info: The Toronto Film Festival said it has withdrawn its Gala Presentation slot for Galveston, the Mélanie Laurent-directed drama based on Nic Pizzolatto’s 2010 novel. The festival, which opens on Thursday, had planned a September 14 gala screening for the pic starring Ben Foster and Elle Fanning, but said today that when it found out the cast and crew could not attend “due to work commitments,” it pulled the film from the section.
In its place, the fest has set the world premiere of Matthew Heineman’s A Private War, the biopic of UK war correspondent Marie Colvin starring Rosamund Pike. It’s Heineman’s narrative feature directing debut, and the pic is set to hit theaters November 2 in Los Angeles and New York via Aviron Pictures.
The pic had already secured a berth at next month’s London Film Festival in the Mayor of London’s Gala slot. We’re hearing the producers and Heineman had been aiming for a Toronto bow all along, but didn’t think they could finish the edit in time. Now they’re in a sprint to make the September 14 date.
Galveston was going to be making its Canadian premiere at the gala. It had its world premiere earlier this year at SXSW and was acquired by RLJE Films for a planned fall theatrical release. It just played at the Dauville Festival of American Cinema in France.
“We have recently learned director and cast for Galveston are no longer available to attend the Canadian Premiere in Toronto due to work commitments,” the fest said this morning in a statement. “Our Gala Presentations require filmmaker and key cast to be present at the premiere screening at Roy Thomson Hall, and unfortunately we cannot move forward with Galveston in this selection. At this time, all our other programming slots are in place so we have regretfully withdrawn the film. We wish Mélanie Laurent and the film’s production team the very best, and hope Toronto audiences will have the opportunity to see Galveston in the near future.”
Based on a 2012 Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner, A Private War follows Colvin to the front lines of conflicts around the globe as she risks everything to reveal the truth. Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci and Tom Hollander also star.