Amazon’s “Suspiria,” Netflix’s “Roma” and HBO’s “My Brilliant Friend” look set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival, in a lineup expected to showcase the event’s embrace of streaming platforms as well as of traditional Hollywood fare such as Universal’s “First Man” and indie movies like Annapurna Pictures’ “The Sisters Brothers.”
Less than a week before the official selection’s unveiling, the indications are that the slate will bolster Venice’s growing status as an awards-season launching pad, with Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” chosen to open the festival’s 75th edition. Chazelle’s multiple-Oscar-winning “La La Land” also debuted on the Lido, in 2016. But two other upcoming Hollywood titles with early awards buzz, Joel Edgerton’s “Boy Erased” and Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” will not be making the trip to Venice, sources say.
Amazon is almost certain to world-premiere Luca Guadagnino’s grisly remake of suspense classic “Suspiria,” starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson (pictured), and also likely to bow “Beautiful Boy,” which stars Timothée Chalamet as a methamphetamine addict fighting his habit, sources say. The latter film marks the English-language debut of Belgian director Felix Van Groeningen (“The Broken Circle Breakdown”) and is set for theatrical release in the U.S. on Oct. 12.
Netflix, which was shunned by Cannes this year, is strongly tipped to have at least two hotly anticipated features in the Lido lineup: Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” about a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City, and Paul Greengrass’ “Norway,” which depicts the horrific 2011 terrorist attack by a Norwegian far-right extremist who killed 77 people, most of them teenagers, in Oslo and on Utoya island.
HBO is expected to unveil “My Brilliant Friend,” its TV series based on the first of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s four acclaimed “Neapolitan novels.” The show, produced by Wildside and Fandango for HBO, Rai Fiction, and TimVision, marks HBO’s first foray into foreign-language production, as well as the TV series debut of Italian filmmaker Saverio Costanzo, who was last on the Lido with Adam Driver-starrer “Hungry Hearts.” HBO’s “The Young Pope” also bowed on the Lido, in 2016.
“First Man,” with Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong, leads a U.S. contingent likely to include Jacques Audiard’s darkly comic Western “The Sisters Brothers,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Joaquin Phoenix, and Yorgos Lanthimos’ period piece “The Favourite,” with Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. “The Favourite,” set in 18th-century England and laced with the signature black humor of the maker of “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” is from Fox Searchlight.
Warner Bros.’ remake of “A Star Is Born,” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, is also a likely Lido candidate but has not been locked in.
Britain is almost certain to hit Venice with a trio of high-profile titles: Mike Leigh’s political costume drama “Peterloo”; Joanna Hogg’s romantic thriller “The Souvenir,” starring Robert Pattinson and executive produced by Martin Scorsese; and Yann Demange’s cocaine-dealing drama “White Boy Rick,” toplining Matthew McConaughey, from Sony.
China looks set to be represented by Zhang Yimou’s period martial-arts film “Shadow,” which online giant Tencent recently boarded, ahead of its Sept. 30 release in Chinese theaters. The action drama re-imagines an epic story from China’s Three Kingdoms period, and is visualized in the style of a Chinese ink-brush painting.
Also considered a lock for a Lido slot is hot Hungarian helmer Laszlo Nemes’ “Sunset,” his follow-up to dazzling debut “Son of Saul,” which won the 2016 foreign-language Oscar. “Sunset” is set in Budapest in 1913, when the city was considered to be a cultural capital of Europe.
The Italian contingent, besides “Suspiria” and “My Brilliant Friend,” will almost certainly include Mario Martone’s “Capri, Revolution,” set a year after “Sunset,” in 1914, in a commune formed by Northern European expatriate artists on the southern Italian island of Capri.
Although France is expected to have a strong presence at the festival, Francois Ozon’s drama “Alexandre” is apparently not heading to Venice.
The Venice Film Festival runs Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.
Patrick Frater contributed to this report.