TIFF: Ben Kingsley’s Salvador Dali Biopic ‘Daliland’ to Close Fest

Mary Harron’s Dalíland, with Ben Kingsley playing the surrealist painter Salvador Dali, will close the 47th Toronto Film Festival with a world premiere on Sept. 17.

Canadian director Harron, best known for American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol, will host Kingsley and her film’s cast, including Barbara Sukowa, Christopher Briney, Rupert Graves and Suki Waterhouse, at the Roy Thomson Hall screening.

TIFF’s official announcement of its closing night pick left out Ezra Miller from the cast list. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed Miller remains in the film, and plays Dali in his younger years.

Dalíland tells the story of Dali’s later years and of his marriage to his domineering wife and muse, Gala, as their seemingly unshakable bond begins to stress and fracture. Set in New York and Spain in 1973, Dalíland is told through the eyes of James, a young assistant keen to make his name in the art world and who helps the eccentric and mercurial Dalí prepare for a big gallery show.

“We couldn’t be prouder that Harron is a Canadian who has taken her singular explorations of iconic eccentrics to the world stage,” TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in a statement Tuesday morning about his closing night film pick.

Sales agent Bankside Films, which will be shopping Dalíland in Toronto to international buyers, offered no comment on why Miller, the star of Warner Bros. upcoming superhero pic The Flash, was omitted from the official announcement on Tuesday. TIFF also declined comment.

It’s understood that Toronto, like other major film festivals, uses cast lists, loglines and other information provided by a film’s studio and production company for use in its press releases.

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Miller’s legal woes, which began in April when he was arrested and booked on suspicion of second-degree assault in Hawaii following an incident in a karaoke bar, were compounded earlier this week with the Vermont State Police charging the actor with felony burglary for allegedly stealing bottles of alcohol from a Vermont home.

Harron directed Dalíland based on a screenplay written by John C. Walsh. The film was developed by Edward R. Pressman of Pressman Film, a producer on American Psycho, and David O. Sacks, who previously partnered on Jason Reitman’s Thank You For Smoking.

The producer credits are also shared by Daniel Brunt, Chris Curling and Sam Pressman.

TIFF earlier announced that the Netflix film The Swimmers, writer-director Sally El Hosaini’s drama about real-life sisters on an inspiring odyssey as refugees from war-torn Syria to the 2016 Rio Olympics, will open the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 8 at Roy Thomson Hall.

Aug. 9, 8:10 a.m. This story has been updated to include Ezra Miller’s role in Dalíland, as well as his omission from Tuesday’s announcement.