“White Noise,” which will world premiere in competition at Venice on Aug. 31, marks the first time a Netflix original film opens the fest.
Baumbach’s Don DeLillo adaptation follows Jack (played by Driver), a professor who made a name for himself by teaching Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Middle America. With his fourth wife Babette (portrayed by Gerwig) and their kids, they attempt to navigate the usual rocky passages of family life. But their existence is put to the test and disrupted when an “airborne toxic event” forces them to face the threat of death together.
Additional “White Noise” cast includes Don Cheadle, Raffey Cassidy, Sam Nivola, May Nivola, André L. Benjamin and Lars Edinger.
Baumbach was last at the Lido with “Marriage Story,” also a Netflix original, which played at the festival in 2019.
“White Noise” is expected to lead a robust pack of Netflix titles launching from the Lido, including Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe drama “Blonde,” starring Bond girl Ana de Armas (“No Time to Die”) as the Hollywood icon.
Other Netflix movies highly likely to be Lido-bound include Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” which details the story of a Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker going through an existential crisis; and Romain Gavras’ modern tragedy “Athena,” co-written by the French “The World is Yours” director with “Les Miserables” filmmaker Ladj Ly.
Venice in recent editions has become a privileged launching pad for Netflix’s Oscar hopefuls given that the Cannes Film Festival requires that competition titles receive a French theatrical release followed by a 15-month wait before launching the movie on a streaming service.
“It is a great honor to open the 79th Venice Film Festival with ‘White Noise,'” said Venice director Alberto Barbera in a statement.
Barbera, who usually announces the Venice opener sooner, added that “it was worth waiting for the certainty that the film was finished to have the pleasure to make this announcement.”
Barbera praised Baumbach’s adaptation of the eponymous 1985 Don DeLillo novel as “an original, ambitious and compelling piece of art which plays with measure on multiple registers: dramatic, ironic, satirical.”
“The result is a film that examines our obsessions, doubts and fears as captured in the 1980s, yet with very clear references to contemporary reality,” Barbera added.
Baumbach said: “It is a truly wonderful thing to return to the Venice Film Festival, and an incredible honor to have ‘White Noise’ play as the opening night film.”
He continued:”This is a place that loves cinema so much, and it’s a thrill and a privilege to join the amazing films and filmmakers that have premiered here.”
“White Noise” was adapted for the screen and directed by Baumbach, who produced alongside David Heyman and Uri Singer.
As previously revealed by Variety, U.S. studios and streamers are set to be disembarking at the fest in full force. Warner Bros. will be launching steamy psychological thriller “Don’t Worry Darling,” which is Olivia Wilde’s second directorial effort and stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles.
Focus Features will be on the Lido with Todd Field’s “Tár,” which teams the “In the Bedroom” director with Cate Blanchett as the fictional Lydia Tár, one of the world’s greatest conductors and the first female conductor of a major German orchestra. Blanchett is a Venice regular who presided over the festival’s main jury in 2020.
Amazon-owned MGM will be in Venice with Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All” starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell as cannibal lovers on a road trip across America in the 1980s.
Among new titles now understood to be locked into a Lido berth is Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees Of Inisherin,” the Irish director’s followup to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” This Searchlight Pictures film centers on the dynamics of lifelong friends on a remote Irish island and reunites McDonagh with his “In Bruges” stars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell.
Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” an adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play about a morbidly obese recluse, played by Brendan Fraser, now also looks likely to have secured a Lido berth.
The 75th edition of Venice will run Aug. 31-Sept 10. The lineup will be announced on July 26.