Clooney returns to Lido with fourth directorial effort

ROME — It’s official: George Clooney’s political thriller “The Ides of March” will open the 68th Venice Film Festival.

Confirming recent reports, the fest has announced that Clooney’s fourth directorial effort will world preem on the Lido Aug. 31, in competition, providing Venice with a star-studded sendoff.

“Ides,” which is set in the near future, stars Ryan Gosling as a young idealistic press secretary for a candidate in the Democratic primaries for presidential elections, played by Clooney, who falls prey to backroom politics.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood also star, and are expected on the Venice red carpet.

Clooney directed from a script he co-wrote with Grant Heslov, based on the Broadway play “Farragut North,” written by Beau Willmon.

Clooney’s second film as a director, “Good Night, and Good Luck” unspooled in the Venice competish in 2005 and took nods for best screenplay (to Clooney and Grant Heslov) and for best actor (to David Strathairn).

Sony has slotted “The Ides of March” for an Oct. 7 limited release Stateside. Pic will go out in an earlier date in Italy via 01 Distribuzione.

Other titles believed to have secured Venice competition berths are Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” Russian auteur Aleksandr Sokurov’s “Faust,” the fourth and final installment in his “Men of Power” series, Philippe Garrel’s “Un ete brulant” (A Burning Hot Summer) and Cristina Comencini’s “Quando la notte” (“When The Night”).

The lineup will be announced in Rome July 28.

Fest will run Aug. 31-Sept. 10.

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