It was Denzel Washington's day as the Venice Film Festival kicked off its 52nd edition Wednesday. And if the actor's grand entrance on a submarine lacked fanfare, it managed to bring out the paparazzi.
The long-planned promotional gig for "Crimson Tide," which stars Mr. Washington and screened here opening night, was clearly one of the most ambitious in the history of the festival. The stint featured Mr. Washington sailing into the harbor late Wednesday morning atop a huge gray submarine, accompanied by "Tide" director Tony Scott and its producer, Jerry Bruckheimer.
The sub Pelosi, capable of holding a crew of 48, had been provided virtually gratis by the Italian navy. Executives for distributor Buena Vista International said the Italian military is "a big fan of the film" and was happy to reap the PR benefits for sponsoring the gig.
After a few minutes of somewhat frantic photo calls, the Hollywood trio was hustled away from the small army of eager TV cameramen and photographers to a nearby water taxi, which whisked them to the festival site on the Lido for "Tide's" official press conference.
There, the three had to endure the usual festival barrage of quirky and humorously mismatched questions. On the whole, the group was a lot more eager to discuss political elements of the action-adventure film than talking Hollywood shop.
A journalist asked if Mr. Washington, after making the nuclear-war themed "Tide," would participate in the boycott of French products if the French continue nuclear tests on Polynesian islands.
"Is this about movies or politics?" Mr. Washington volleyed back. But he did say that he "detested" the use of nuclear weapons.
Director Scott chimed in: "We're talking about movies, not about wars! We're an entertainment industry."