| TORONTO, Sept 8
TORONTO, Sept 8 A merry band of outlaws and
hired hands will kick off Toronto International Film Festival on
Thursday in "The Magnificent Seven," leading a slew of big
action films and intimate true stories vying for early buzz
leading into Hollywood's annual awards season.
Sony Pictures' star-studded remake of 1960 Western "The
Magnificent Seven" will open the festival with a red carpet
premiere. Stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke
will join director Antoine Fuqua to discuss retelling a classic
story for a contemporary audience.
The 10-day Toronto International Film Festival, now in its
41st year, kicks off the annual Hollywood awards season that
culminates with the Oscars ceremony in February.
Toronto has often been the launching pad for awards films
such as "12 Years a Slave," "The King's Speech" and last year's
"Spotlight" all gaining critical praise and momentum at the
event before going on to win the Academy Award for best picture.
Other awards contenders showcased at the festival this year
includes historical slavery drama "The Birth of a Nation,"
"Hidden Figure" about three female black mathematicians who help
NASA in the space race, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's
sci-fi drama "Arrival" and "Queen of Katwe," based on the true
story of Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi.
"The Magnificent Seven" follows a rogue band of outlaws who
come together to defend a gold mining town from the control of
murderous baron Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), after a
widowed young woman vows to get revenge for her dead husband and
protect her townsfolk.
The film once again pairs Washington with Fuqua after
working on 2001's "Training Day," for which Washington won a
best actor Oscar, and 2014's "The Equalizer."
The diverse "Magnificent Seven" is led by Washington's
bounty hunter Sam Chisholm, who brings together alcoholic
gambler Josh Farraday (Pratt), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux
(Hawke) and his knife-throwing comrade Billy Rocks (Byung-hun
They are joined by bear-like tracker Jack Horne (Vincent
D'Onofrio), Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and
Native American warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) as they
prepare to take on Bogue's army in a tense, action-filled
gunfight and return the hostage town to its people.
"The Magnificent Seven" will be theaters on Sept. 22.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Alan Crosby)