- Title: ITALY: "Killer Joe" premieres at Venice film festival
- Date: 9th September 2011
- Summary: VENICE LIDO, ITALY (SEPTEMBER 08, 2011) (REUTERS) ( *** BEWARE FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **) VARIOUS OF "KILLER JOE" ACTOR EMILE HIRSCH ON RED CARPET VARIOUS OF HIRSCH POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS FANS AT RED CARPET HIRSCH SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS ARRIVAL "KILLER JOE" DIRECTOR WILLIAM FRIEDKIN WITH WIFE SHERRY LANSING FRIEDKIN AND LANSING POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS FRIEDKIN AND LANSING KISSING PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING PICTURES AND FRIEDKIN SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS VARIOUS OF FRIEDKIN AND HIRSCH POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS HIRSCH KNEELING BEFORE FRIEDKIN FANS HIRSCH AND FANS AT RED CARPET VENICE LIDO, ITALY (SEPTEMBER 09, 2011) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) "KILLER JOE" DIRECTOR WILLIAM FRIEDKIN, SAYING: "I don't set out to be provocative, sometimes that happens. I just am attracted to things that reach me and that's not very many things." SOUNDBITE) (English) PLAYWRIGHT TRACY LETTS, SAYING: "Yeah, I guess my taste as a writer sometimes is a little just to provoke any kind of reaction, any kind of response to get people out of their seats a little bit and absorb them even more into the story, let them lose themselves in the story a bit. And I am not proud about that, I'll use any method I can to keep them from being bored and to keep them involved in the story. And any arrow in my quiver I will gladly use." (SOUNDBITE) (English) "KILLER JOE" DIRECTOR WILLIAM FRIEDKIN, SAYING: "And I just saw it as a very funny and very dark story but with an emphasis on funny."
- Embargoed: 24th September 2011 13:00
- Location: Italy, Italy
- Country: Italy
- Reuters ID: LVAA3ONY7BGNWQQO7BD6IA8J1S8B
- Story Text: Iconic director William Friedkin and actor Emile Hirsch walked the red carpet for the world premiere of "Killer Joe" at the Venice film festival on Thursday (September 08).
In "Killer Joe", competing at the Venice film festival, Hollywood heartthrob Matthew McConaughey ditches romantic comedy for a modern-day Western in which he plays a twisted detective who doubles as a hitman.
In the film, McConaughey is Joe Cooper, a sultry Dallas sheriff who is hired by broke drug dealer Chris to kill his mother for her 50,000 dollar life insurance policy.
With no money for an advance, Chris agrees to offer his younger sister Dottie as sexual collateral in exchange for Joe's services until he receives the insurance money. But the plan does not work out as Chris, played by Emile Hirsch, expected.
Full of dark humour and at times reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction", Killer Joe brings veteran U.S. film-maker William Friedkin back to the director's chair after a five-year absence.
Friedkin, best known for "The Exorcist" (1973) and "The French Connection" (1971), for which he won an Oscar, teamed up with playwright Tracy Letts to adapt his piece about the dysfunctional family at the centre of the story with some very explicit violence in it.
"Yeah, I guess my taste as a writer sometimes is a little just to provoke any kind of reaction, any kind of response to get people out of their seats a little bit and absorb them even more into the story, let them lose themselves in the story a bit," Letts told Reuters Television. "And I am not proud about that, I'll use any method I can to keep them from being bored and to keep them involved in the story. And any arrow in my quiver I will gladly use."
The director, though, played down the violence.
"There isn't that much violence in it, really, but the violence seems to be real as opposed to a comic book movie which is like a video game where people die constantly. It means nothing. The violence in this picture appears to be happening to people. I think that's why it is disturbing. But there is not a lot of it. You know, what there is is, I understand, provocative," Friedkin, 76, told Reuters after his film was warmly applauded at a press screening in Venice.
Hirsch praised the director for creating an intimate and spontaneous environment and said the cast which also includes Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church had all brought something unique to their interpretations. Hirsch also said that it was a new experience for him.
"I think I never played such an unlikeable character in a certain way. He is very hard to like, he is a very amoral guy. He is going to pimp out his virgin sister in order to get money to kill his mother, I mean, he is a dark guy. I never played anything like that before. But I enjoy the difference of it you know. For me, you know, it's probably not that close to who I am. I don't know," he said.
McConaughey, who was not in Venice, looked very different from his previous roles as the calm, methodical sociopath who becomes increasingly infatuated with Dottie.
"The film was a departure from any project I've ever worked on before," he, too, said in production notes.
Friedkin, who is vying for the top prize at the Venice festival for the first time, said the film's dark subject matter did not mean it was not possible to poke fun at it.
"I just saw it as a very funny and very dark story but with an emphasis on funny," Friedkin said.
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