Star wattage waning at Rome fest


ROME -- Last-minute cancellations left the European premiere of Sidney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" minus most of its star power Monday, even as the festival geared up for the arrival of Robert Redford and Tom Cruise.

The festival had previously announced the participation of Lumet but on Monday said he would be unable to attend because of illness. None of the film's stars -- Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei -- made the trip, leaving producer Brian Linse to represent the film alone.

There has been a smattering of other no-shows over the festival's first days: Art house star Daniel Auteuil left the job of promoting "Le Deuxieme Souffle" (The Second Wind) to Monica Bellucci on the festival's opening night, and Meryl Streep stayed home, leaving Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon to walk down the red carpet ahead of the Sunday premiere of "Rendition."

But there have been plenty of big names over the festival's first four days -- Sophia Loren, Francis Ford Coppola and Cate Blanchett attracted plenty of attention -- and the festival's star power should return to its normal wattage Tuesday, with the arrival of Redford and Cruise for the highly anticipated world premiere of "Lions for Lambs."

The Redford-helmed film, which features Cruise as a power-hungry senator, will be the most visible feature Tuesday, though it was already creating a buzz Monday before the limited press screening that took place late in the evening.

Although both big-name stars are expected to stroll down the red carpet before Tuesday's official world premiere, they won't be around for long. The local press has reported that the stop in Rome will last only 30 hours, part of Cruise's first promotional tour since his exit from Paramount this year.

Also on tap for Tuesday are the premiere of competition title "Barcelona, un mapa" (Barcelona, a Map) from Ventura Pons, and a midnight screening of Dario Argento's horror flick "La Terza Madre" (The Third Mother) -- the final installment in his "Three Mothers" trilogy -- for which the festival will switch out the red carpet for a black one.