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Scarlett Johansson, Elliot Page in Hot Films at Toronto Film Fest – The Hollywood Reporter


Here comes the fall festival circuit during the history-making double union strike. In these still uncharted waters, there remain quite a few unknowns. For instance, it’s unclear how interim agreements — either signed or not — will affect a project’s potential for pickup. Then, there is the question of whether AMPTP studios — supposedly sitting on stockpiles of cash — will be looking to buy given a lack of new content, or if they will abstain with an uncertain negotiating road ahead.

In the weeks leading up to the festival, there was chatter about how studios, including Netflix, had been messaging that they would not be buying projects that had signed interim agreements. (Netflix had no comment.) If a streamer did sign on to these agreements, they would indeed be signing on to SAG-AFTRA’s requirement that actors for streaming projects receive 2 percent of subscription revenue produced by those projects, as defined by metrics from Parrot Analytics. (Of course, the terms of the interim agreements will eventually be superseded by the terms of the eventual contract signed between the union and the AMPTP.)

“The likelihood that an AMPTP company is going to attempt to platform content that they are then going to have to pay the stream revenue share on during the course of the strike, in my view, is minimal, or probably nonexistent,” SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said during a news conference in early August.

Amid all the confusion, there is a known quantity: the movies, of which there are many that could muster up some sales, in whatever form they might take. 

Close to You 

Director Dominic Savage 

Stars Elliot Page, Hillary Baack

The buzz A starring vehicle for Page with subject material drawn from his best-selling memoir, Pageboy. The actor stars as Sam, who, after going home for the first time since his transition, runs into a high school friend (Baack) with whom he has an unresolved past.

Sales UTA 


Director Christy Hall 

Stars Sean Penn, Dakota Johnson

The buzz Hall, who co-created the critically acclaimed and canceled-too-early Netflix series I Am Not Okay With This, tackles this enclosed drama about a woman (Johnson) and her taxi driver (Penn) who, over the course of a cab ride from the JFK airport, engage in a life-changing conversation.

Sales CAA/WME 

The Dead Don’t Hurt

Director Viggo Mortensen

Stars Mortensen, Vicky Krieps

The buzz As Yellowstone has brought the adult, neo-Western to the Hollywood forefront, here is an art house option. Described as a feminist Western, the film follows an immigrant flower seller who must defend herself against the corrupt leaders of a small town in 1860s Nevada.

Sales HanWay 

Hate to Love: Nickelback  

Director Leigh Brooks
The buzz Music biopics have proved successful fodder for the Netflix and Amazon algorithm, with streaming services shelling out massive paydays for the intimate stories of music’s most loved stars. This doc tweaks the model slightly, offering an intimate look at the career of the band that everyone loved and then loved to hate, complete with interviews from the band members, detractors, and advocates.
Sales Submarine

Hell of a Summer

Directors Finn Wolfhard, Billy Bryk 

Stars Wolfhard, Bryk

The buzz The horror comedy title has the already established genre appeal of Stranger Things’ Wolfhard going for it. He and his Ghostbusters: Afterlife co-star Bryk have devised a plot based on classic slasher fodder, revolving around counselors at a summer camp. White Lotus breakout Fred Hechinger also stars.

Sales 30West/CAA (domestic); Altitude Film (international) 

His Three Daughters 

Director Azazel Jacobs 

Stars Natasha Lyonne, Elizabeth Olsen, Carrie Coon

The buzz For his latest, Jacobs, who has long appealed to the Sony Pictures Classics and A24 crowd, enlists three award-winning actresses. They converge in a family drama about sisters who occupy their father’s small apartment as he is dying. 

Sales CAA 

His Three Daughters, starring Natasha Lyonne, Elizabeth Olsen and Carrie Coon

His Three Daughters, starring Natasha Lyonne, Elizabeth Olsen and Carrie Coon

Courtesy of TIFF


Director Ellen Kuras

Stars Kate Winslet, Alexander Skarsgard, Andrea Riseborough, Marion Cotillard, Andy Samberg

The buzz Winslet stars as photojournalist Lee Miller, whose World War II portraits included the liberation of Paris and the horrors of the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. An all-star cast, which includes an already talked-about dramatic turn for SNL alum Samberg, is sure to entice buyers.

Sales CAA, UTA (domestic); Rocket Science (international) 

LEE, starring Kate Winslet as Lee Miller.

Lee, starring Kate Winslet as Lee Miller

Elevation Pictures / Courtesy Everett collection

Mother, Couch 

Director Niclas Larsson 

Stars Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, Lara Flynn Boyle, Ellen Burstyn 

The buzz When their mom refuses to leave the couch of a furniture store, three estranged siblings, with their emotional baggage in tow, come together to try to fix the strange problem. The cast includes up-and-coming indie talent Taylor Russell, who earned acclaim with Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All.

Sales UTA (domestic); Charades (international)

North Star 

Director Kristin Scott Thomas 

Stars Scott Thomas, Sienna Miller, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Beecham

The buzz Scott Thomas pulls from her own life for her feature directorial debut, one where she plays a twice-widowed woman who is on the precipice of getting married for the third time but must focus on her three daughters, all in town for the wedding. In addition to the star power of Johansson, the movie has the producer muscle of Finola Dwyer (Brooklyn, An Education) and Wes Anderson backer Steven Rales. 

Sales CAA 


Director Ethan Hawke

Stars Maya Hawke, Laura Linney 

The buzz This indie biopic has the added benefit of cross-generational appeal thanks to the father-daughter filmmaking combo. The younger Hawke, who has found major success with the Netflix feature Do Revenge, plays the American novelist Flannery O’Connor as she struggles to publish her first novel.

Sales UTA/CAA 

This story first appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.