Venice: Al Pacino, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke Set for Double Duty

Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke and Al Pacino
Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke and Al Pacino
 AP Images/Invision

ROME  The Venice lineup was announced on Thursday, with a slew of Hollywood actors in its ranks. Among the red carpet names with movies set to premiere include: Jennifer Aniston, Elle Fanning, James Franco, Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Bill Murray, Seth Rogen, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Owen Wilson.

A few celebs are even planning on doubling down at the festival. To organize a star at festival premieres involves a huge chunk out of the marketing budget. Landing a star for two films in one place can be a great coup for any distributor.

This year at Cannes, Robert Pattinson made appearances at photocalls for both Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars and David Michod's The Rover. Ever the busy man, James Franco last year starred in Venice in both Gia Coppola's Palo Alto, which he also wrote, and in his own film, Child of God, an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel. This year he also brings his latest directorial attempt to Venice, The Sound and the Fury.

Al Pacino has a much buzzed about role in David Gordon Green's Manglehorn, alongside Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, and Chris Messina. Pacino plays a forlorn locksmith in a small Texan town who can't seem to get over the love of his life.

Gordon Green has great skill in getting unusual performances out of actors, including a serious turn from the normally goofy Paul Rudd in 2013's Prince Avalanche, and last year's Venice contender Joe, with Nicolas Cage in a comeback role who plays an unlikely role model in the form of an ex-con. Manglehorn will play at the Toronto Film Festival after its Venice debut.

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Pacino also stars in the out-of-competition The Humbling. The latest comedy from Barry Levinson looks at an affair between a legendary yet suicidal stage actor and a much younger lesbian woman (Greta Gerwig) in a secluded country home. Based on Philip Roth's last novel, Pacino plays the difficult role of a man who has lived inside his head for too long. Pacino is expected to appear at the festival to promote both films.

Another double hitter, Willem Dafoe will play in two controversial films: Abel Ferrara's Pasolini, in competition, and Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Volume II - Director's Cut, out of competition. Dafoe will be at home in the fest, as he currently splits his time between New York, Los Angeles and Rome.

Dafoe bears a striking resemblance to the renowned Roman writer and director. Ferrara's film looks at the multifaceted life of Pier Paolo Pasolini in the day leading up to his traumatic death. The Italian cinema scene is very curious about how the New York-born director has depicted the poet, one of his own great influences. Fest director Alberto Barbera said of the film at the lineup press conference today, "Let's see how it will be welcomed in Venice, because it's about one of our most important writers."

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And Ethan Hawke scores two promotional opportunities for the price of one. He teams up again with New Zealand director Andrew Niccol after their 1997 success with Gattaca. In the competition film Good Kill, he plays a fighter pilot turned drone operator who begins to question the war on terrorism. January Jones is cast as his wife with Zoe Kravitz and Jake Abel playing members of his flight crew.

Hawke also has an out-of-competition film in Michael Almereyda's Cymbeline, another modern Shakespearean adaptation. After the two previously brought Hamlet into a contemporary New York City setting, they're teaming up again and turning Cymbeline into a story of a war between corrupt cops and drug-slinging biker gangs. The star-heavy cast includes Milla Jovovich, Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson, Penn Badgley, Anton Yelchin, John Leguizamo, and Bill Pullman.

Twitter: @Aristonla

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