Real-life couple Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany will kick off the Toronto International Film Festival with the life story of Charles Darwin.
Bettany stars as the theory-of-evolution pioneer and Connelly plays his wife in “Creation,” which opens the festival Sept. 10. The film is directed by Jon Amiel, whose credits include “The Core” and “Entrapment.”
The Toronto event is among a flurry of film showcases, including the Venice and Telluride festivals, that help launch Hollywood’s awards season each year.
Along with “Creation,” the Toronto lineup will feature Jane Campion’s “Bright Star,” a drama about another 19th-century Brit, John Keats. “Bright Star,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, traces the love story of doomed poet Keats (Ben Whishaw) and a passionate neighbor (Abbie Cornish).
Other films announced by festival organizers include Matt Damon and Steven Soderbergh’s whistle-blower saga “The Informant”; Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner and Tina Fey’s fantasy comedy “The Invention of Lying”; Clive Owen’s widower drama “The Boys Are Back”; Michael Douglas’ womanizer tale “Solitary Man”; Neil Jordan and Colin Farrell’s Irish fairy tale “Ondine”; Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek’s Depression-era drama “Get Low”; and Tim Blake Nelson’s comic story “Leaves of Grass,” with Edward Norton in dual roles as twin brothers.
“Creation” premieres in the year marking the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. Adapted from the book “Annie’s Box,” the movie centers on Darwin’s struggle between science and God as he refines his theories amid his wife’s deep religious conviction and grief over the death of his young daughter.
“The tension between faith and reason is prominent in contemporary culture, and this intimate look at Darwin puts a human face on a man whose theory remains controversial to this day,” said festival director Piers Handling.