Baring souls & limbs in Venice

Todd Solondz talks up 'Dark Horse'

Todd Solondz came to the Venice Film Fest with “Dark Horse” and proclaimed, “I just wanted to see if could make a movie without rape, pedophilia or masturbation.” Even more amazing than a change in subject, the writer-director said, was simply working again.

“I just assume that after each movie I’ll never make another movie,” he said at Monday’s Excelsior Hotel junket, “I was lucky to have made the movies I’ve made, because each movie I make makes half the amount of the previous one.

“I’m on a very smooth trajectory,” Solondz went on to say. “I was surprised someone gave money to make this, I’m grateful. Do I expect to make another, who knows?”

As a poet of suburban angst, Solondz is on familiar ground with his melancholy comedy about a grown man (Jordan Gelber), who lives with his parents (Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow) and collects action figures.

“Mia is retired really and I wanted her. She did the movie without reading the script,” said Solondz. “It was her son Ronan Farrow who said, ‘Mom you’ve got to do the movie.'”

As for Walken, “My only concern is he’s such a distinctive actor, he’s peculiar in a way, I had to mute him so that he would be conservative. I gave him a toupee because his hair is more rock and roll. I didn’t want him to stick out.”

* * *

MTV has been quietly kicking the tires on “Locke and Key,” the intricate fantasy drama pilot produced for Fox earlier this year. The Viacom cabler sees the property as a possible companion for its buzzy original series “Teen Wolf.” But those in the know say it’s an extreme long shot that the project could move to the home of “Jersey Shore,” because “Locke and Key” was designed to be produced on an event-series budget for broadcast TV, not on a basic cable budget. “Locke and Key,” penned by Josh Friedman and exec produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, solidified its cult-fave credentials with an unusual (for an unsold pilot) screening at Comic-Con in July.

Monica Bellucci offered a rare case of star self-deprecation at Saturday’s Venice Film Fest junket for “That Summer.” A day earlier, Bellucci had garnered global headlines for her brief full-out nude scene in the romantic melodrama that filmed just “two months” after the birth of a daughter. At the Excelsior Hotel’s Lancia Terrace, she was puzzled the fuss. “Actually, I really would like to know why yesterday everybody talked about this nude moment when there was the David Cronenberg movie (“A Dangerous Method”) with Keira Knightley in such strong sexy scenes. And everybody is talking about this nudity with a 47-year-old woman.”

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