Clooney film set to woo Venice Film fans

GEORGE CLOONEY’S third directorial effort, The Ides of March, and Madonna’s second, WE, are bound for the Venice Film Festival, so the paparazzi should be out in force.

Abbie Cornish stars in the latter as Wally, a young woman obsessed with Wallis Simpson, played by British actress Andrea Riseborough (Brighton Rock) in a career-making role. Likewise, Clooney’s festival opener, focusing on dirty dealings behind a presidential campaign, looks set to give Ryan Gosling the kudos, and the stardom he has long deserved.

Gosling, who is coming alongside Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid, Love and in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, plays an intern working on Clooney’s presidential campaign. It will be interesting to hear what the highly politicised Clooney has to say.

The Irish-Canadian co-production of Mary Harron’s gothic horror The Moth Diaries, based on Rachel Klein’s novel, will receive an out of competition screening at the festival. Starring Sarah Bolger, Lily Cole, Sarah Gadon and Scott Speedman, it tells of a young girl haunted by her father’s suicide, who begins her junior year at an elite girls’ boarding school, hoping for a fresh start. Her initial friendship with sunny, innocent Lucy is, however, shattered by the arrival of the mysterious European Ernessa, who she suspects is a vampire.

Irish hunk Michael Fassbender will be doing double duty with Shame (which reunites him with his Hunger director, Steve McQueen) and David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, about the theoretical battles between Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Jung (Fassbender), where Keira Knightley is the subject caught in the middle.

In a remake of John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Gary Oldman is taking on the George Smiley role defined by Sir Alec Guinness. Also featuring are Irish cast members Stephen Rea and Ciarán Hinds, alongside Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and John Hurt.

American director Whit Stillman (Barcelona, Last Days of Disco) is attempting a comeback with his first film in 13 years, the closing night film, Damsels in Distress, starring Greta Gerwig.

Actress of the moment Jessica Chastain will be in Venice to promote Wild Salome (a kind of documentary sequel to Looking for Richard, only this time based on Oscar Wilde’s Wild Salome) with her director, Al Pacino (who will receive a career tribute), she will not be talking up The Killing Fields, her second festival film, co-starring Avatar’s Sam Worthington. The pair recently paired up to promote their co-starring roles in The Debt in Los Angeles (Ciaran Hinds interestingly plays the older Worthington), where Chastain quipped that they “are having a contest to see who can make the most films in a year.”

Matthew McConaughey won’t be in Venice promoting William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, as the film is yet to be sold to most countries. In the comedy drama he stars as an assassin hired by a cash-strapped Emile Hirsch to kill his despicable mother. Ultimately Venice might not quite be the place for the laid back, bongo-playing McConaughey, who rarely turns up at festivals. Ditto Roman Polanski, though for other reasons. Polanski’s Venice movie, Carnage, which stars Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet, is meant to be so good that the producers want to keep the promotion till closer to the film’s end-of-year release and, of course, to Oscar time. So no one will conduct interviews, even if the press conference is fairly obligatory.

In Italy, Paris-based Monica Bellucci could steal the whole shebang with the French film, That Summer, (Un Éte Brulant, literally a burning or boiling summer), a romantic drama directed by Philippe Garrel and co-staring his son Louis.

The sole Hollywood juggernaut is Warner Brothers’ Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s action thriller blockbuster about a deadly disease, which apparently wipes out some of the high profile cast early on. Which ones, we wonder? It stars Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.

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