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“Variety”: premieres in Venice of “Joker 2”, “Maria” with Angelina Jolie and “Modi” directed by Depp

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Variety magazine writes that the most anticipated title of this year – “Joker 2: Folie à Deux” by Todd Phillips will premiere during the upcoming Venice Film Festival. Just like “Maria” by Pablo Larrain – about the famous opera singer Maria Callas with Angelina Jolie in the main role, and the film “Modi” by Johnny Depp – showing the life of the extraordinary Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani.

The official list of titles that will compete for the laurels of one of the most important international film festivals is traditionally announced in July, a month before the Venice festival scheduled for late August and early September. Variety magazine is already writing about the titles that will be included in the main competition.

The most anticipated is the sequel to the hit “Joker” by Todd Phillips. The first part premiered in 2019 at the Venice Festival, during which the film won the Golden Award Lion and began a triumphal march through subsequent festivals, until… Oscar for Joaquin Phoenix, who played the main role. It should therefore come as no surprise that “Joker 2: Folie à Deux” will also have its first screening there.

Poster promoting the movie “Joker 2”Warner Bros.

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“Joker 2: Folie à Deux” or Phoenix and Lady Gaga

The first “Joker” was described as a combination of “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy”, i.e. two very different films by Martin Scorsese. Meanwhile, “Joker 2: Folie à deux” is announced as a musical. So it won't be a typical sequel. The authors of the script are Scott Silver and Todd Phillips, the duo responsible for the script for the first “Joker”. It was completed for $60 million. Being rated R, the studio did not anticipate box office success. Meanwhile, produced by Warner Bros. Discovery, the owner of TVN, the film earned a billion dollars in cinemas alone.

In the second part, Joaquin Phoenix played the main role again, and next to him was the famous American singer and actress Lady Gaga, who was already nominated for an Oscar in 2019 for her role in the film “A Star Is Born”. She then received a statuette for the song “Shallow”. Gaga played the role of Harley Quinn, which may explain the convention of the musical. However, the creators limit themselves to a laconic summary of the plot. “Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Hospital, falls in love with a mysterious patient, the Joker. In an attempt to escape from the mental institution, they lead a romance full of danger and madness.”

The trailer suggests that the writers do not care about the comic book canon and present Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, known from the DC Comics film, in a completely different way.

No expense was spared in the production of “Joker 2: Folie à Deux”. According to American media, the film's budget exceeded $200 million. Of this, Phoenix received PLN 20 million and Lady Gaga PLN 12 million.

Angelina Jolie on the set of the movie “Maria”PAP/Abaca

“Maria” or Jolie as Callas

The second title expected in Venice is the work of the Chilean director Pablo Larraine – “Maria”. It is a portrait of an extraordinary woman – played by Angelina Jolie, the famous Greek opera singer, Maria Callas. Larrain does not tell the story of the heroine's entire life, but focuses on a fragment of it. It is limited to the last days of the artist's life, in Paris in the late 1970s.

The greatest love of the artist's life, the Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis, is played by Turkish cinema veteran Haluk Bilginer (“Winter Sleep”). The older sister of the legendary singer, Yakinthi, was played by the Italian star Valeria Golino, whom we know from Krzysztof Zanussi's film “Black Sun”. Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee, nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Dog's Claws” by Jane Campion, will also appear in one of the roles.

The film is advertised as the great return of Angelina Jolie, who in recent years has directed (without success) more often than acted as an actress. And if she did act, they were not very successful films. This time it may be different. Pablo Larraine became famous as a master of moving, intimate portraits of women, taking on extraordinary, world-famous figures.

The director's great success was “Jackie” – a story about Jacgueline Kennedy struggling with loss and herself, set immediately after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963. The main role in this film brought Natalie Portman an Oscar nomination. Five years later, Larraine decided to take a closer look Princess Diana. The director focused on the holiday weekend, when the Duchess decided to divorce Prince Charles. And again – Kristen Stewart, who played Diana, was nominated for an Oscar.

For Jolie, who already won an Oscar a quarter of a century ago for her supporting role in the film “Music Lesson Interrupted”, the main role in Pablo Larraine's film, as in the case of Portman and Stewart, may result in an Oscar nomination.

Johnny Dep directed a movie about ModilgianiFORUM

“Modi” or Depp about Modigliani

Variety's only doubts about appearing in the main competition in Venice refer to Johnny Depp's latest work. Contrary to expectations, he won a defamation suit against his ex-wife two years ago Amber Heard, did not cause the actor to return to the screens. Major studios, after accusations of domestic violence, removed him from planned productions and are not eager to hire Depp again. Even the announced return to the role of Captain Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” did not materialize.

The only role the star has played since the loud divorce, covered by the media for weeks, was filmed in France by Maïwenn Le Besco “The King's Mistress Jeanne du Barry”, which opened last year's festival in Cannes. Depp played King Louis XV in it, but the vast majority of the screen time was taken by Maïwenn, who played the title character. The American actor had little to play.

Probably the lack of acting offers pushed him towards directing. “Modi” is an adaptation of Dennis McIntyre's play, whose hero is the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani. The modern style used in his portraits and nudes made him famous all over the world. The painter is played by Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio, and Al Pacino will play the role of the renowned art collector Maurice Gangnat. The film takes place in 1916 in Paris and is an account of 48 hours in the artist's life. Modigliani is hiding from the police. He plans to end his career, but other artists try to persuade him to change his mind. The hero also seeks advice from his friend, the Polish art dealer Leopold Zborowski. Only the appearance of Gangnat will completely change his life. “I feel both honored and humbled to be able to bring Modigliani's life story to the screen,” says Depp, who also co-produced the film. – It was a life full of difficulties, but also triumph.

Modi is Depp's second foray into directing. His previous film, Brave, released in 1997, which he not only directed but also starred in alongside Marlon Brando, was an absolute fiasco. Perhaps the American actor and director's latest work will help him revitalize his career. The game is worth the candle. And the biggest festivals are loved by stars so much that everything else is less important.

Author:Justyna Kobus

“Variety”, “The Hollywood Reporter”, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: press materials

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