Spotlight on racial diversity at 11-day Toronto film festival

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Magnificent Seven is a star studded multi-cultural cowboy movie. 

“Magnificent Seven” director Antoine Fuqua is tipping his hat to Hollywood for giving him the wherewithal to deliver a multicultural cowboy movie, led by Denzel Washington.

“This becomes the new definition of what a western is,” Fuqua told a Toronto International Film Festival press conference on Thursday as his international cast of stars sat alongside him.

Among the other marquee names in attendance were Chris Pratt, South Korea’s Byung-hun Lee and Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. They walked the red carpet later in the evening as screening of the film officially kicked off the festival.

“You’ve got to give the studio credit when they do something like this,” Fuqua added about his diverse cast.

The star-studded remake of the 1960 Hollywood western – itself a reinterpretation of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” – has been in the works for years. But it arrives at TIFF during what’s widely considered to be a pivotal shift in how racial diversity is represented on movie screens. Washington shied away from linking the film too closely with some sort of cinematic statement.

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“It’s a movie. It’s for people to enjoy,” he said.

“What do they want to get from it? It depends what you bring to it.”

His director hinted that he’s hopeful the western might be representative of more open-mindedness for commercial cinema in the future.

“You can make a ‘Magnificent Seven’ with all women,” Fuqua proposed.

Ethnic diversity is expected to be the spotlight throughout this year’s 11-day film festival, which is one of the biggest and most diverse showcases of cinema in the world.

Herds of eager moviegoers from across the globe travel to Toronto in hopes of catching a glimpse of their favourite stars, buzzworthy Hollywood films and international cinema that may never get an official release on this side of the world.

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Among the most-anticipated mainstream titles is “The Birth of a Nation,” set during a slave rebellion, and “A United Kingdom” and “Loving,” which both feature interracial couples.

“Moonlight” focuses on a young black man coming to terms with his sexual identity amid a turbulent upbringing.

Other Hollywood films will use the fest as a platform for awards season. Natalie Portman is generating early buzz for her role as former U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in “Jackie,” while Oliver”I look at this year and I think, I just feel so awake,” she told Ryan Seacrest during an On Air interview.

Not for nothing, but the No Doubt frontwoman deserves it.

After enduring the most craptastic year of her life, Stefani filed for divorce from Gavin Rossdale in August 2015.  A few months later, she joined The Voice as a judge and started dating her co-star, Blake Shelton.

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Since then, Stefani’s life has been nothing short of magical, what with her romance and This Is What The Truth Feels Like tour. Without referring directly to her relationship, Stefani told Seacrest that she’s a little bummed out that the year is winding down.

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