Star-Studded HFPA Reception In Venice

by Elisabeth Sereda September 5, 2015

Eddie Redmayne and Alica Vikander attend HFPA reception

Luca Celada/HFPA

Thunder and lightening did not prevent the biggest stars on the Lido from attending the Hollywood Foreign Press Venezia 72 reception at the Italian Pavilion of Cinecitta at the Excelsior Hotel, this Saturday, September 5.

“Special effects! You even have special effects!“ laughed festival director Alberto Barbera pointing at the sky. Barbera welcomed guests alongside HFPA president Lorenzo Soria before running off to yet another meeting. Minutes later a long line of boats arrived at the dock: team Danish Girl had barely been able to leave their hotel on a small island on the lagoon, but as soon as they stepped off their boats on the Lido the heavens opened and the sun came out, creating a breathtaking rainbow over the Adriatic Sea. Matthias Schoenaerts was first, followed by Eddie Redmayne with his delightful wife Hannah and gorgeous co-star Alicia Vikander, whose career will go through the roof after the film comes out. “When we left, the rain came down so hard we were really worried about Hannah’s beautiful dress”, said Eddie once they all had enjoyed bellinis at the party.

Director Tom Hooper said that he had just finished The Danish Girl last Thursday but seemed the least nervous about its world premiere taking place right after the HFPA event. Unlike Eddie, who flew in from London Friday night after wrapping his latest, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by J.K.Rowling. “I haven’t seen The Danish Girl yet’ he told us and admitted to ‘extreme anticipation.’

The last of the gang to arrive was the beautiful Amber Heard with her plus one – a certain Johnny Depp. It must have taken lots of maneuvering on the part of the festival programmers to get the couple’s respective movies scheduled only a day apart. Johnny looked very relaxed. With the Black Mass premiere behind him, he was here only to support his wife and enjoy the night.

Director Terry Gilliam attended both premieres as a guest. At the reception he joked about his status as a citizen: “I renounced my U.S. citizenship nine years ago. I am on parole and can only go there for 30 days. I am a fugitive of the American military industrial complex. I’m a traitor.”

Still a secret at press time: our own Silvia Bizio had organized an event at the Cipriani hotel just before the reception. At the event Gilliam and Johnny Depp gave each other the Mimmo Rotella Award for visionary filmmaking. Gilliam and Depp are close friends and the former knew that the latter was a huge fan and collector of Maestro Rotella. “I met Rotella a few years ago in Venice in a gallery and I love his work“, Depp told us. “I think he is the greatest contemporary artist I have known. I already have more than one of his works. It is a great honor for me to receive this award.” Depp received the lithograph Magnifica Preda signed by the Maestro. Gilliam then dashed off to the Centurion Palace Hotel where he met up with the third award recipient, Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov.

Also spotted at our party: Nastassja Kinski, the face of this year’s festival poster – although she can only blame the graphic designer for the fact that it looks nothing like her. The Hollywood Foreign Press reception was still in full swing when the cast of The Danish Girl went across the street to walk the red carpet for their world premiere.

Elisabeth Sereda