Pic to play in midnight slot on opening day

ROME — The Venice Film Festival has announced that Robert Rodriguez’s actioner “Machete” will world preem from the Lido on the fest’s first day as a midnight movie.

Conceived as an expansion of Rodriguez’s mock trailer in “Grindhouse,” “Machete” stars Danny Trejo as a blade-wielding Mexican ex-Federale who is double-crossed by a crooked pol, played by Robert De Niro.

Also appearing in “Machete” are Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Steven Segal, Jeff Fahey, Don Johnson and Lindsay Lohan.

“Machete” will launch from the Lido out-of-competish, on Sept. 1 at midnight in the Sala Grande. Earlier in the day, Darren Aronofsky’s competition entry “Black Swan” will open the fest.

Quentin Tarantino, who directed one of the two parts that make up the “Grindhouse” double-feature, is Venice jury prexy this year.

Fox will open “Machete” Stateside on Sept. 3. Rodriquez previously attended Venice with “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” in 2003.

Also bowing from the Lido on Sept. 1 will be another genre pic, Andrew Lau’s martial arts actioner “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zen,” making for a particularly packed start for Venice’s 67th edition.

Fest runs Sept. 1-11.

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