Saturday, 23 September, 2023

Hollywood strike forces Venice fest to switch opening film

The Venice Film Festival has switched its opening selection, after the movie that had been slated to open pulled out because of the ongoing Hollywood strike, organisers said.

Edoardo De Angelis' "Comandante" will now open the 80th Venice International Film Festival, in place of Luca Guadagnino's "Challengers", the festival said in a statement late on Friday.

"Challengers" featuring US star Zendaya, "will not participate at the Festival following a decision made by the production," owing to ongoing industrial action in Hollywood, it said.

"Comandante" will have its world premiere on Wednesday, August 30 in the Sala Grande of the Palazzo del Cinema (Lido di Venezia) during the opening ceremony.

The change comes with actors having two weeks ago joined a writers' strike to trigger the first industry-wide walkout for 63 years, effectively shutting down Hollywood.

The SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors Guild) went on strike after negotiations to reach a new deal with production studios ended without an agreement.

The union's demands have focused on dwindling pay in the streaming era, as well as the threat to the industry posed by artificial intelligence.

Based on a true story, "Comandante" depicts the rescue of 26 shipwrecked Belgians during World War II by a submarine skipper played by Pierfrancesco Favino.

De Angelis, 44, was behind 2016 film "Indivisibili" and the TV drama series The Lying Life of Adults.