Select A-list actors allowed at Venice Film Festival amid Hollywood strike

<i>Ferrari</i> co-star Penelope Cruz is reportedly set to head to the Venice Film Festival but will be more low key this year.

Ferrari co-star Penelope Cruz is reportedly set to head to the Venice Film Festival but will be more low key this year. Photo: Getty

Hollywood actor Penelope Cruz was among hundreds of A-listers on the red carpet for the prestigious Venice Film Festival last year.

Cruz stole the show, not only with her intensely personal portrait of a mother in a dysfunctional family in 1970s Rome in L’Immensita, but in the haute couture gowns she had on parade for the cameras at the Lido.

She joined Cate Blanchett promoting Tar, Olivia Wilde, Harry Styles and Florence Pugh hamming it up for Don’t Worry Darling and Baz Luhrmann, whose Elvis promotional campaign won him accolades the world over.

Their presence is front and centre at these prestigious film festivals – including Cannes, and the upcoming Telluride and Toronto festivals – which set the table for the awards season.

This year, Cruz will be one of a handful of stars to walk the carpet for the 80th Venice Film Festival that begins on August 30, as the Hollywood strike by writers and actors grinds the industry to a standstill.

“Producers, distributors, publicists and the festival itself have all been in a holding pattern,” writes Deadline.

On August 27, it was revealed several films and big-name stars obtained SAG-AFTRA interim waivers because they are involved in independent productions that were not produced by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

No strike breakers

“Some of our fellow members have been subject to negative comments for participating in projects with an interim agreement, particularly when it comes time for them to promote their work, including at festivals.

“To be crystal clear, once an agreement is in place, we fully encourage all of our SAG-AFTRA members to work under that agreement AND to promote work made under that agreement,” the union wrote.

While no actor wants to be seen doing the wrong thing by their colleagues back home, festival organisers confirmed to Variety that Cruz’s co-star Adam Driver is expected on the Lido’s red carpet to promote Ferrari, in which he plays the lead character, Italian car racing pioneer and legend, Enzo Ferrari.

Hall passes

The Ferrari biopic is being distributed by the independent film distribution company Neon, which does not have major studio ties, giving the Ferrari cast and writers a green light to go to Venice.

However, the Daily Mail reported the two-time Oscar nominee Driver wont be hanging around, flying in from Paris on a private jet on August 31, hitting the red carpet with a protest T-shirt under his tuxedo, and leaving the same day.

Cruz, who has long worn Chanel on the carpet, is rethinking her wardrobe to also adopt a low-key approach to this year’s event.

Jessica Chastain, who has previously stunned on the carpet – especially at Venice where she flirted with Oscar Isaac to promote Scenes From a Marriage – will be going for the film, Memory.

It’s her first role since her Oscar-winning performance in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Also expected on the Lido are Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, who play Priscilla and Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, as well as Priscilla Presley.

Mads Mikkelsen will head across for Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s The Promised Land.

Deadline reports Caleb Landry Jones and Jojo T Gibbs will attend for the film, DogMan (which has an interim agreement), Peter Sarsgaard and Billy Magnussen (as executive producers) for Coup! and Olga Kurylenko for the TV series premiere Of Money and Blood.

However, Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, American Sniper) won’t be going to promote his Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, as he not only stars in the film but is director … and it was commissioned by Netflix.

Ready to talk, but no deal yet

Meanwhile, the SAG-AFTRA negotiating team says that while it “remains ready at a moment’s notice to go back to the bargaining table to secure a righteous deal”, the length of the strike continues to affect the industry.

Members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike since May 2, and the SAG members since July 13.

As a result, Warner Bros movie studio will delay the planned November release of the big-budget Dune sequel until March because its stars cannot promote the movie during the Hollywood actors’ strike.

The decision deals a blow to cinema chains such as AMC Entertainment, Cineplex and Cinemark which are still trying to recover from the pandemic.

Blockbusters delayed

Dune was one of the most anticipated films on the late 2023 schedule and will now debut on March 15, a date that had been reserved for Warner Bros film Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (now bumped to April 12).

As a result, an animated Lord Of The Rings film that had been set for April was moved to December.

Dune: Part Two stars Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet in a sci-fi sequel based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel about an intergalactic battle to control a precious resource.

The first instalment, released in 2021 during the pandemic, generated $US402 million ($627 million) at global box offices.

The actors’ strike has prompted other movie studios to adjust film schedules in the absence of celebrities to hit red carpets or talk shows to help build buzz.

Sony Pictures altered the release strategy for Dumb Money, the film inspired by the story of everyday investors who outwitted Wall Street investors and got rich on the stock of video game and electronics retailer GameStop.

According to Reuters, audience numbers at US cinemas this year remains below pre-pandemic levels despite the major boost from the frenzy around the films Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Other major films on the 2023 schedule at the moment include Disney’s The Marvels, a Lionsgate prequel to The Hunger Games, and Wonka, another Warner Bros film that also stars Chalamet.

The 80th Venice Film Festival runs from August 30 to September 9

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