Toronto Preview: Awards Hopefuls Bring Real Figures to Life, from Dickens and Assange to Ginsberg and Mandela

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by Anne Thompson
August 5, 2013 4:02 PM
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'Rush' Imagine/Universal
Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones in 'The Invisible Woman'

There's a reason Sony Pictures Classics is moving up the release date of "The Invisible Woman" to Christmas Day. They think they may have the goods to make a go at an awards season play. This Ralph Fiennes-directed movie is world premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, one of many pictures with Oscar hopes that centers around bringing a real person to life. 

In this case, Fiennes plays controlling novelist and amateur actor Charles Dickens, who has a complicated relationship with his muse Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), who comes from an acting family. Fiennes and Jones are joined by Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander in the film which is written by Abi Morgan ("Shame," "The Hour"), who adapts the original novel, "The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens," by Claire Tomalin.

"Kill Your Darlings" Sony Pictures Classics

SPC is also showing at TIFF John Krokidas’ Sundance biopic "Kill Your Darlings" (October), a portrait of the early life of three seminal Beat Generation writers: Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster). A sprawling cast is rounded out by Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Cross, Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen and Dane DeHaan of "Chronicle." While the Beats have been explored recently in the Ginsberg docudrama "Howl" (2010) and the Kerouac adaptation "On the Road" (2012), "Kill Your Darlings" is being called "a genuine attempt to source the beginning of America's first true literary counterculture." This film is focused on a 1944 murder that brought the three budding writers together.

Dane DeHaan also takes on a role in Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan's indie dramatization of the well-known and much-documented case of the wrongfully imprisoned West Memphis Three, who were finally set free after 18 years in jail. Based on Mara Leveritt’s 2002 book, “Devil’s Knot” was adapted by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson and also stars Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon and Mereille Enos.

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