VENICE WATCH: Cunningham sees 'Game of Thrones' career boost

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Posted: Sep 08, 2015 10:49 AM
VENICE WATCH: Cunningham sees 'Game of Thrones' career boost

VENICE, Italy (AP) — The 72nd Venice Film Festival, which runs through Saturday, is bringing red carpet premieres, innovative movies and Hollywood glamour to the Italian city. Here's what has been catching the eye of The Associated Press:

CUNNINGHAM'S GAME OF THRONES GAME-CHANGER

Liam Cunningham is the latest actor to experience the career-boosting power of "Game of Thrones."

The Irish actor has played smuggler-turned-royal adviser Davos Seaworth on the hit HBO fantasy series since 2011. He says that since he's joined the show he's noticed "a lot more people giving me funny looks on the street now, and complete strangers coming up and frightening me."

He also gets inevitable questions from the program's passionate fans — especially about the fate of beloved character Jon Snow, whose apparent death at the end of the last season has not gone down well.

"People seem to think he's alive somehow," Cunningham said. "Where the hell is that coming from? How dead do you have to be?

"It's extraordinary, the reaction to it, this sort of visceral reaction to some of the stuff," he said.

Cunningham is in Venice with "The Childhood of a Leader," Brady Corbet's exploration of the creation of a dictator. The ambitious and experimental film, which also features Robert Pattinson, is playing in the festival's Horizons competition for new discoveries.

The 54-year-old actor says that since joining the TV show, "on the business front, my stock has increased."

"You do get a few more offers, and this is one of them," he said of Corbet's film. "My bills are being paid. I mean I'm not going to be buying a Ferrari any time soon, but I have a certain amount of a little bit of comfort ... and it allows me to do glorious and unusual projects like this."

—By Louise Dixon

FORMER FOES COME FACE TO FACE IN 'A WAR'

Another "Game of Thrones" actor, Denmark's Pilou Asbaek, is in Venice with "A War," a film that brought Danish military veterans and their former Taliban enemy face to face.

Asbaek — who played a sharp spin doctor in political drama "Borgen" and has been cast in "Game of Thrones" upcoming sixth season — stars in Tobias Lindholm's drama about Denmark's 2001-2013 combat mission in Afghanistan and its repercussions on the home front.

The actor plays a commander who makes a battlefield decision with grave consequences in the drama, which opens in Denmark later this week.

"A War" was shot in Turkey, and included real Danish veterans and Afghan refugees among the cast. Asbaek said the director thought one Afghan man in particular "was incredible, he was just perfect for a part in the film."

"And they started talking and then he said, by the way you need to know that I've actually been a Taliban warrior."

Lindholm, who also made high-seas thriller "A Hijacking," spoke to the ex-soldiers in the cast, who agreed to meet their former foe.

"It ended up being a beautiful conversation between two professional people just on each different side," Asbaek said. "I was there, and I remember talking to Tobias and I said, you know what? Maybe the film turns out bad, but behind the scenes it's going to be great."

—By Zara Eldridge and Jill Lawless