EXCLUSIVE: Al Pacino headed over to Toronto after a whirlwind stint in Venice where he had two films to promote: The Humbling and Manglehorn. Both are also on their way to Canada where Pacino is being honored this evening. Directed by Barry Levinson, The Humbling surprised folks at its Sala Grande premiere here on the Lido. The movie arrived with no advance marketing and ended up charming audiences who didn’t know much about it going in — least of all how funny it is. It’s about aging stage actor Simon Axler who has “lost his appetite,” the buzzed about Pacino told me when we sat down together Sunday. “He’s lost his desire and I think that is a scary thing because he doesn’t realize why.”
Pacino acquired the Philip Roth source novel and saw it as a tragicomedy. “I don’t think you can go into that dark place and have an audience stay,” he laughed. So, he called on Levinson with whom he’d done the HBO movie You Don’t Know Jack, and then got Buck Henry to come in and write it. “We all saw it very similarly and the good news here is that it’s our world.” Pacino says he’s dealt with his own terrors over his long and distinguished career, “It’s remarkable when you’re on stage and you don’t have your lines and you don’t know what the next one is. It’s the actor’s recurring dream, but (Simon) is living it and sees it as a constant.” He also embarks on a relationship with the much younger Greta Gerwig. Kyra Sedgwick, Dianne Wiest, Charles Grodin, Dan Hedaya and Nina Arianda also star.
Check out the exclusive trailer. (Fun fact: The house in the film is Levinson’s own Connecticut pad).