Rome Film Festival topper Marco Mueller has unveiled a rich lineup mixing crowdpleasers with more esoteric fare and comprising recent standout titles but also many world preems, including new works by Jonathan Demme, Isabel Coixet, and U.S. multi-hyphenate Marc Turtletaub’s first feature “Gods Behaving Badly.”

The U.S., Asia, and Italy feature prominently with plenty of newcomers playing alongside known names and a robust roster of stars that should keep the paparazzi happy.

“Gods Behaving Badly,” a comedy about Greek gods living in contempo New York who intervene in the lives of a young couple, will unspool out-of-competition. The “Gods” ensemble cast includes Christopher Walken playing Zeus, John Turturro as Hades, Alicia Silverstone and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as the young couple, and Sharon Stone as Aphrodite. Based on the eponyomous best-seller by Marie Phillips, pic is self-produced by Marc Turtletaub with Peter Saraf through their Big Beach shingle.

The 12 world preems unspooling within the Eternal City’s 18-title competish include prominent Danish auteur Nils Malmros’ latest drama “Sorrow and Joy” (pictured); Japanese horror meister Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Seventh Code”; Japanese cult helmer Takashi Miike’s manga pic “The Mole Song”; hot young Italian helmer Guido Lombardo’s Naples-set heist pic “Take Five,” his Lombardi’s follow-up to gritty “Las-Bas. A Criminal Education”; and, as previously announced, Fox Intl. Productions’ supernatural thriller “Another Me” by Coixet, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Claire Forlani and Sophie Turner.

U.S. pics competing, but not world-preeming, are Jean-Marc Vallee’s “Dallas Buyers Club”; Spike Jonze’s “Her,” bowing internationally following its New York fest preem; and Scott Cooper’s revenge thriller “Out of the Furnace,” toplining Christian Bale, which Relativity Media will be releasing wide Stateside on Dec. 6.

Eli Roth’s cannibal chiller “The Green Inferno” will screen out-of-competition, along with Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s dark sci-fi drama “Snowpiercer,” starring Tilda Swinton and John Hurt; Russian helmer Fedor Bondarchuk’s World War II epic “Stalingrad 3D”; and Spanish helmer Alex de la Iglesia’s hot male criminals meet witches movie “Witching & Bitching,” which bowed at San Sebastian.

As previously announced, Rome has secured the world preem of Jonathan Demme’s “Fear of Falling,” which reunites Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, following their cult collaborations on Louis Malle’s “My Dinner With André” and “Vanya on 42nd Street.” Demme’s latest, which is based on Gregory and Shawn’s contempo adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play “The Master Builder” and also sees the multihyphenates star, will unspool in the cutting-edge Cinemaxxi section along with Alexandre Rockwell’s micro-budgeted “Little Feet,” which imagines his own kids fending for themselves in L.A.

Also as previously announced, Lionsgate will launch “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” out-of competish Nov. 14, in Rome, three days after its world preem in London and eight days prior to its U.S. preem.

Mueller, at his second edition at Rome’s helm, is stepping up efforts to position the revamped fest as a pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas period launching pad for high-profile English-language pics as well as a top-tier metropolitan event.

After hastily assembling his first edition last year, when he insisted on having all world preems and came up short and somewhat out-of sync with what regular Romans want, Mueller has now taken a different tack by turning more populist and cherry-picking recently launched films while maintaining the cachet of Rome being a fest where many movies can be discovered and launched.

Mueller had more time to work this year, albeit amid many political and economic obstacles, and seems to be hitting his stride with what on paper looks like the edition that raises the bar and could take the Eternal City event to a higher plateau.

The Rome topper called his selection “positively schizophrenic,” meaning that it’s characterized by the coexistence of many disparate elements.

The opener is Italo laffer “The Fifth Wheel,” by frequent hitmaker Giovanni Veronesi toplining Elio Germano (“My Brother Is an Only Child”), produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia and Fandango.

The closer is Chinese blockbuster crimer “The White Storm”(formerly “The Cartel War”), directed by Benny Chan from China’s Bona Film Group.

The Rome fest and its Business Street mart, which runs November 13-17 will dedicate a day to forging closer ties between the Italian and Chinese film industries which have a co-prod pact in final stages.

U.S. director, scribe, and producer James Gray will preside the main jury, while director Larry Clark will head the CinemaXXI section.

Rome’s eighth edition will run Nov. 8-17


“Another Me,” Isabel Coixet (Spain-U.K.)
“I Am Not Him” Tayfun Pirselimoglu (Turkey, France, Greece, Germany)
“Foreign Bodies,” Mirko Locatelli (Italy)
“Dallas Buyers Club,” Jean-Marc Vallee (U.S.)
“Sheep’s Clothing,” Paulo Morelli (Brazil)
“Gass,” Kiarash Asadizaden (Iran)
“Her,” Spike Jones (U.S.)
“Blue Sky Bones,” Jian Cui (China)
“Manto Acuifero,” Michael Rowe (Mexico)
“The Mole Song,” Takashi Miike  (Japan)
“Out of the Furnace,” Scott Cooper (U.S. – U.K.)
“Quod Erat Demonstrandum,” Andrei Gruzsniczki (Romania)
“Seventh Code,” Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)
“Sorrow and Joy,” Nils Malmros (Denmark)
“Take Five,” Guido Lombardi (Italy)
“TIR,” Alberto Fasulo (Croatia, Italy)
“The Invisible Life,” Vitor Goncalves (Purtugal)
“Cut Down Kite,” Diego Ayala, Anibal Jofre (Chile)

For the full lineup go to: http://www.romacinemafest.it/ecm/web/fcr/en/home