VENICE WATCH: Frances McDormand hails female stories; Skarsgard praised 'fun' von Trier

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: September 1, 2014 - 12:25 PM

VENICE, Italy — The Venice Film Festival is bringing 11 days of red carpet premieres, innovative movies and Hollywood glamour to the Italian city. Here's what has been catching the eye of The Associated Press:

FRANCES MCDORMAND HAILS WOMEN'S STORIES

Frances McDormand says her latest project, "Olive Kitteridge," is unusual — its central character is a woman over 40.

The Academy Award-winning actress is in Venice with the four-part HBO miniseries, in which she plays an acerbic schoolteacher in a small Maine town full of troubled souls.

"It's kind of a subversive act to tell a story of a woman past a certain age, to develop a four-hour movie based on a marriage and a story of two people past middle age," McDormand told The Associated Press.

The 57-year-old, who won an Oscar for "Fargo," received a career prize from the Italian festival on Monday before a red-carpet screening of the show.

Based on Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Olive Kitteridge" is directed by Lisa Cholodenko, whose big-screen features include "Laurel Canyon" and "The Kids Are All Right."

It's due to air on HBO in November, but McDormand said the creators thought of it more as a four-hour movie than a TV show. She said the length was necessary to give the story room to breathe.

"Ninety minutes isn't enough for a female story," she said. "You can skim the surface in 90 minutes, but you can't really get to the heart of anything.

"Long-format television is a better way to tell a female story."

—By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

SKARSGARD PRAISES 'FUN' VON TRIER

Lars von Trier has been called many things — brilliant, tasteless, provocative. Fun-loving guy is generally not one of them.

But frequent collaborator Stellan Skarsgard says he agrees "to everything he asks me to do," because working with von Trier is so much fun.

"It might not always be pleasant watching his films, but that's different," Skarsgard said at a Venice news conference for von Trier's five-and-a-half-hour porn-and-storytelling epic "Nymphomaniac."

Skarsgard said he agreed the moment von Trier called him and said "Stellan, my next film will be a porno film and I would like you to play the male lead."

"Who could resist an invitation like that?"

Von Trier was banished from the Cannes Film Festival three years ago for saying he could sympathize "a little bit" with Hitler.

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