First a little backstory: 2012 marks the first year for Marco Mueller -- former head of the Venice Film Festival -- in his stint as artistic director, and he'll be eager to make an impression. The Lido had an impressive year, debuting films from Paul Thomas Anderson, Terrence Malick, Brian De Palma, Harmony Korine, Ramin Bahrani, Olivier Assayas and more, and no doubt Mueller will want to make his mark felt over at the rival fest. And certainly, his years not only working at the Venice Film Festival, but in Locarno and Rotterdam as well have given him a lot of connections to filmmakers, producers and distributors.
So it's not exactly a shock that "Django Unchained" is being mentioned as a possibility for a Rome bow. Mueller tapped Tarantino to head the Venice jury in 2010, and of course, the movie has strong ties to spaghetti westerns, with a cameo by Franco Nero who starred in the original "Django" and also lives in Rome. It seems all the factors are in play, and we'd wager that Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein have both had the door left open for them to attend....if the movie is ready. So we shall see.
Other rumored titles are a bit less exciting: Johnnie To's latest, "Drug War," is in the mix, as is "Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" as part of the youth oriented "Alice In The City" sidebar as well as Italian director Gabriele Muccino's Gerard Butler-starring comedy "Playing For Keeps." Most unlikely is Sylvester Stallone's "Bullet to the Head," a movie that only seems to be mentioned because Sly got an achivemenet award in Venice a few years ago. Longshots include Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" (which is already slotted for a bow at AFI Fest), Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land," and Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables."
But what about Jonathan Glazer's completely under-the-radar and somewhat MIA "Under the Skin" starring Scarlett Johansson? His last effort, "Birth," premiered at the Venice Film Festival way back in 2004, and so it's a possibility Mueller could re-up him there. Though it seems a bit odd that the long-awaited movie would skip the helmer's native BFI London Film Festival the month before, to bow in Italy.
Anyway, lots to consider. The Rome Film Festival runs from November 9-17. The lineup will be unveiled on October 10th. [THR]