The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, which opens on Thursday, will be showcasing plenty of work from fresh and exciting new actors and filmmakers. But this year's gathering of A-list talent and more obscure artists will also include a handful of cinematic works of artists we've lost in recent months.
TIFF will be debuting "Enough Said," a new comedy that features a posthumous screen appearance from "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, who died in June. Cast against type as Albert, a warm, funny man struggling to get back on his feet after a divorce, "Enough Said" co-stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva, a fellow divorcee who begins dating Albert and strikes up a friendship with Marianne (Catherine Keener) – only to discover Albert and Marianne used to be married.
In an interview not long after Gandolfini's death, Louis-Dreyfus spoke fondly of her co-star and his work in "Enough Said." "I think Jim would say he was nervous because he was playing a role unlike any other role he played before and a role in which he gets the girl and he was sort of uncomfortable with that," Louis-Dreyfus said. "He plays a really earnest, mild mannered, dear person. Frankly, very close to what he is [and] he was … I think he was a little bit insecure about it, but he did the most amazing job."
Cory Monteith, the star of "Glee" who lost his battle with drug addiction on July 13, appears in two movies opening at TIFF. In "McCanick," Monteith plays a small-time hustler who is back on the streets after a few years in prison and being chased down by the detective who put him there. The film's director, Josh C. Waller, said that Monteith was eager to break with his squeaky-clean reputation and play a gritty role informed by his own experiences.
"He was very vocal about his past, and said he wanted to tap into things from his youth that he hadn’t been able to use as an actor yet," Waller said. " He didn't say it was a cathartic experience, but you could sense it."
The late Monteith was also part of the ensemble cast of "All The Wrong Reasons," in which he plays the manager of a big box discount store trying to help his wife (Karine Vanasse, from "Pan Am") get past the trauma of seeing her sister commit suicide.
Gia Milani, who makes her directorial debut with "All The Wrong Reasons," was also full of praise for her late star. "Cory saw the film a few weeks ago," Milani told Entertainment Weekly in July. "He said he loved how layered it was and he thought it was intense. He loved Finn and always talked about how blessed he felt to have been cast in 'Glee,' but like any artist, he wanted to play other roles too. I think he wanted to prove to himself he could do more. And he did prove it."
Elmore Leonard, the celebrated crime novelist whose work was the basis for "Get Shorty," "Out Of Sight," "Jackie Brown," and the TV series "Justified," died on August 20. "Life of Crime," starring Jennifer Aniston and based on Leonard's book "The Switch," is set to receive its world premiere in Toronto. "Life of Crime" is a story with just the sort of hook Leonard made his trademark: a pair of hoods (John Hawkes and Yaslin Bey, aka Mos Def) plan to make a fast fortune by kidnapping Mickey (Aniston), the wife of wealthy but unscrupulous land developer Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins). However, the crooks soon learn that Frank has another girl and isn't interested in getting Mickey back.
Josh C. Waller, director of "McCanick," graciously shared this exclusive clip with Yahoo! Movies, showing us a first look at Monteith in what is tragically his final film role: