Film noirs hit Italo film festival

The peril of the pursuit of Hollywood celebrity was the dominant theme on day two at the Venice Film Festival as Miramax and Focus Features’ noir “Hollywoodland” unspooled in competition Thursday with stars Ben Affleck, Adrien Brody, Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins in tow.

The generally well-received pic, TV helmer Allen Coulter’s feature debut, is a fictionalized account of the mysterious 1959 death by gunshot of actor George Reeves, the Man of Steel on TV’s “Adventures of Superman.”

Brian De Palma’s similarly themed “The Black Dahlia,” about the murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short in 1947, opened the fest the day before.

“The films both speak to a human fascination with death in Hollywood,” said “Hollywoodland” producer Glenn Williamson at that pic’s packed press conference. “There is a saying: ‘Living in Los Angeles makes you famous. Dying there will make you a legend.’ “

Reeves was typecast as Superman, a rather modest role at the time, preventing him from reaching greater stardom. Affleck, who plays Reeves, said he could connect with that.

“If you’re an artist, you are going to be frustrated by how you are perceived by the audience,” he said. “But it’s just a dance you have to dance, something you have to navigate, negotiate and try to figure out.”

The public perception of movie stars also surfaced as an issue with Warner Independent’s Truman Capote biopic “Infamous,” helmed by Douglas McGrath.

Sandra Bullock and Toby Jones came to the Lido to tubthump the pic, which opened the Venice Horizons section to a thumbs-up reception. Co-star Daniel Craig, who plays Kansas killer Perry Smith, was not on hand as he’s busy on the James Bond “Casino Royale” shoot.

McGrath downplayed questions about whether appearing as a killer could clash with Craig’s Bond role.

Pic is also unspooling in Toronto.

Meanwhile, Hollywood continues to hold court at the Lido with Ethan Hawke’s “The Hottest State,” Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men” and Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” all screening this weekend.

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