Thesp criticizes Italian premier's homophobic quip

ROME — Julianne Moore on Tuesday galvanized the Rome Film Festival, where she called a homophobic quip by Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi “idiotic,” before being honored with a lifetime achievement award.

At a presser following a screening of Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are Allright,” in which she plays a lesbian parent, Moore was asked what she thought about a statement by Berlusconi who on Tuesday dismissed calls to resign over a scandal centered around a 17-year-old girl saying it was “better to like beautiful girls than be gay.”

“I think it’s unfortunate, archaic and idiotic,” Moore commented.

“To hint or to say that there is something wrong with homosexuality… it’s embarrassing when people continue to perpetrate these untruths,” she went on, drawing plenty of cheers.

Moore mused about her movie career, noting that it started in the 1990s, when she was already in her early 30s, after a long stint doing theater and TV.

She cited her back-to-back roles in Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” in Louis Malle’s “Vanya on 42nd Street” and in Todd Haynes’ “Safe” as instrumental in launching her as a big-screen actress, noting that “I have continued to concentrate mostly on independent cinema since then.” Previous recipients of Rome’s Marcus Aurelius nod include Sean Connery, Sophia Loren and Al Pacino.

The Rome fest, after a rocky start marked by Italo industryites protesting against government arts cuts, is hitting its stride. A rich roster of stars has been strutting down the red carpet, including Bruce Springsteen, for docu “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Aaron Eckhart for “Rabbit Hole” and Jesse Eisenberg for “The Social Network.”

The fest ends Friday.

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