Venice pic switch

'Cop Land' replaces 'Empire' in lineup

ROME — Miramax Film’s drama about corruption and cover-ups in the New York police force, “Cop Land,” has replaced New Line’s thriller “Dark Empire,” directed by Alex Proyas, in the Midnight lineup of the 54th Venice Intl. Film Festival.

Official sources say the Proyas film, which stars Rufus Sewell, William Hurt and Kiefer Sutherland and was selected by new Venice fest director Felice Laudadio from a rough cut, will not be completed in time to bow in Venice.

Written and directed by James Mangold, “Cop Land” stars Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro. Mangold and Stallone will be in Venice for the screening, with Keitel also likely to make the trip.

Two further additions also have been announced to the Venice program. The British Renaissance sidebar has been extended to include first-time director Karen Adler’s “Under the Skin,” a raw drama set in contemporary Liverpool, which stars newcomer Samantha Morton as a self-destructive young woman struggling to accept her mother’s death. The British Film Institute-produced pic also will screen at the Toronto fest.

Laudadio says one of the considerations behind adding the title was to redress the balance between contempo and historical dramas in the Brit showcase, which includes period pics “Wilde” by Brian Gilbert, “Regeneration” by Gillies MacKinnon and “Wings of a Dove” by Iain Softley.

The other new title at Venice will be French-Algerian director Azzedine Meddour’s “La Montagne de Baya,” a drama about Algeria’s 19th century struggle against invaders, which will screen in the Midday lineup. The Venice fest runs Aug. 27-Sept. 6.

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