Washington: American actor Matt Dillon will join the upcoming Venice Film Festival’s main jury, replacing Romanian director Cristi Puiu, who has bowed out for reasons that are unclear.
According to Variety, the 56-year-old actor Dillon will have no trouble travelling to Venice since he is currently in Italy.
In a Venice statement, the U.S. actor and director was praised as “one of the most diverse actors of his generation” and the statement which noted him over three decades also stated that Dillon “has showcased his wide range of dramatic and comedic talents.”
As standout performances, the fest cited Dillon’s breakthrough role in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Outsiders’ in 1983, his role as a racist cop in Paul Haggis’ ‘Crash,’ and his turn as a private investigator in ‘There’s Something About Mary,’ by Peter and Bobby Farrelly.
In 2002, Dillon debuted as a director with the thriller ‘City of Ghosts,’ in which he also starred with Gerard Depardieu, Stellan Skarsgard, and James Caan. More recently, Dillon directed a documentary that is in the post about Cuban singer showman Francisco Fellove, known as El Gran Fellove. The documentary will premiere in San Sebastian.
As Variety reported, the Venice Film Festival gave no explanation as to why Puiu bowed out of jury duty, saying they thanked the director of ‘Malmkorg’ for having accepted the appointment when it was offered, “and for the sensibility, he demonstrated in attempting to honour his commitment, even when unexpected difficulties arose.”
Those difficulties may stem from a rant Puiu made earlier this month during a screening of the 200-minute-long ‘Malmkorg’ at the Transylvania International Film Festival in his native country. “To stay with your mask on while watching a 200-minute film is inhuman,” he said prior to the screening.
“Yes, there is this problem, there is an epidemic, there is a virus, but the tone of the authorities is unacceptable.”
The Venice fest anti-COVID 19 protection measures specifically state that “masks must be worn in all the screening rooms and theatres, both in the queue and when walking to one’s seat, and when seated throughout the entire screening.”
A Venice spokesman said Puiu was unable to attend for reasons they were not at liberty to disclose.
As previously announced, Dillon joins a Venice jury panel presided over by Australian actor Cate Blanchett.
The other Venice competition jury members are Austrian director Veronica Franz, British director Joanna Hogg, German director Christian Petzold, French actress Ludivine Sagnier and Italian writer Nicola Lagioia.
The 77th Venice film festival is set to run as a physical event from September 2-12.