Benicio Del Toro, Che

Laura Bickford Productions

Steven Soderbergh's Che will be coming soon to a theater near you. Be sure to pack accordingly.

In one of the higher profile deals of the week, IFC Films leaves the Toronto International Film Festival with North American distribution rights to the the 4 1/2-hour, two-part Benicio Del Toro-starring biopic.

Though trimmed less than Che Guevera's beard from its even longer version at Cannes, the epic will get one-week runs in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for Oscar consideration before going wider in January. A DVD version will be available through IFC's exclusive deal with Blockbuster.

Soderbergh is "one of the most visionary American directors at work today," gushed IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring. "Che is nothing less than the film event of the year...Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro, who gives an incredible soulful performance, have humanized [Guevera] and given audiences around the world something that will be discussed for years to come."

Possibly because it will take years to watch the entire film.

At the gala party for Che at Toronto's Greenhouse space, a low-key Del Toro said this was his "toughest role."

Also making the scene in Toronto:

Viggo Mortensen made a good impression on music lovers. In town for the launch of Good, a story of the moral compromises made by friends in Nazi Germany, Mortensen tinkled away on the piano in the Sutton Place Hotel for a mini-concert. "I just made it up," he said to the delighted crowd.

• Never to be confused with a shrinking violet, Susan Sarandon held forth on the Republican ticket. Would-be veep Sarah Palin is "a nightmare," said Sarandon, who was hyping Middle of Nowhere, a comedy about an irresponsible mother who blows her eldest daughter's college fund on her youngest daughter's modeling campaign. "It's a very scary thing that people respond to personalities and have no idea what they stand for."

Edward Norton says Pride and Glory, about corrupt New York City cops, is really about the corruption caused by inflicting torture, and "the tension between our loyalties" to authorities "and the need to hold them to a high standard."

Fifty Dead Men Walking was almost buried until producers nailed down a deal with a former British spy to change the move about his life. Martin McGartland, who posed as an anti-British terrorist with the Irish Republican Army, threatened to hold up the film's release unless his demands were met. The controversy and legal threats had kept buyers away, but now the film's premiere will take place as planned.

McGartland's "a scrapper" said the film's director, Kari Skogland. "So we listened and we heard, and we came to a settlement." The deal includes about $35,000 in cash and many small edits, she said. "He saw the final picture and decided that we had addressed his concerns."

• France's Celluloid Dreams locked up distribution for the documentary Soul Power—about a three-night R&B concert in Kinshasa, Zaire, during the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight showdown between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974. Directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, the film features the musical talents of B.B. King, James Brown, The Spinners and Miriam Makeba, among others.

• Sometimes a disgrace can make you happy. Canadian distributor Maximum Film has picked up Disgrace, a drama based on writer J.M. Coetzee's Booker Prize-winning novel. The Australian film, directed by Steve Jacobs, stars John Malkovich as a college professor whose destructive relationship with one of his students drives him to hide out in the Outback.

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