Pop Goes The News —Stars like Matt Damon, Reese Witherspoon, Vin Diesel and Jessica Chastain will soon be out and about in Toronto while in the city making movies.
A big screen comedy, action flick and political drama will support hundreds of people who make their livings from Hollywood North and pump millions of dollars into the economy.
The movie action comes at the same time that the low dollar and generous tax breaks are attracting several U.S. television projects to Toronto.
Downsizing, scheduled to shoot from April 12 to July 11 at Pinewood Studios, is a satirical comedy from director Alexander Payne (Sideways). Joining Damon and Witherspoon in the cast are Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis and Alec Baldwin.
Damon made Good Will Hunting in Toronto and Harris appeared in the Toronto-shot Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
Cameras will roll on Miss Sloane from mid-February to early April. Directed by John Madden (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), it’s a political drama starring Chastain as a lobbyist taking on gun control advocates.
Chastain previously made Mama and Crimson Peak in the city.
The film also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion), Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire), Jake Lacy (Girls) and hometown star Alison Pill (The Newsroom).
Vin Diesel reprises his role from 2002’s xXx in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, which is scheduled to start shooting next week and run until May 20. Samuel L. Jackson will be back as Augustus.
Diesel last worked in Toronto on the 2005 family comedy The Pacifier.
Also in the film — the third in the xXx franchise — will be Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black), Jet Li (The Expendables) and hometown star Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries).
UFC star Conor McGregor is set to make his movie debut.
A number of scenes for the Iraq oil drama Backstabbing for Beginners, starring Ben Kingsley, will be made at Film Port Studio before production moves to Morocco and Jordan. The film also stars Theo James (Divergent), who stepped in after Josh Hutcherson dropped out over safety concerns.
Kingsley appeared in the 2008 Toronto-shot comedy flop The Love Guru and last year’s Life.
Toronto will also host production of the thriller Shadow Train, directed by Russell Mulcahy (Teen Wolf) from Feb. 22 to April 8.
Toronto-born Robbie Amell (The Flash) will co-star with Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones) in the sci-fi thriller ARQ, which will shoot all February. Directed by Tony Elliott (Orphan Black), the movie will stream on Netflix.