Pacino plays depressed men - twice - at Venice film fest

Pacino plays depressed men - twice - at Venice film fest
Director Barry Levinson (L) and cast member Al Pacino pose during the photo call for the movie 'The Humbling' at the 71st Venice Film Festival August 30, 2014.

VENICE - Al Pacino fended off suggestions on Saturday that because he plays depressed characters in two movies shown at the Venice Film Festival he must have a special affinity for such roles.

The "Godfather" star, who is 74, also said that while he did not consider himself to be a Hollywood actor, he appreciated some of the big budget films coming out of there.

"I just saw the 'Guardians of the Galaxy', a Marvel thing, it was amazing," he said at news conferences after his two films were shown.

In Barry Levinson's "The Humbling", based on a Philip Roth novel, Pacino plays an ageing Shakespearean actor who has lost his ability to act.

In director David Gordon Green's "Manglehorn" he is a Texas locksmith who has never gotten over the love of his life, whom he abandoned, and locked himself away from normal human contact.

Since the characters he plays are anti-social and prickly, Pacino was peppered with questions about whether he draws on personal experience to play people who suffer from depression.

"I don't see how I could not be depressed some of the time but I don't know about it," he said.

"How does it go? You say 'I'm depressed' but life is sort of all over us. I mean, things make you sad...basically you'd like to be a bit happier sometime but depressed seems so ominous and it's really in all of us," Pacino said.

Asked if he thought films in general were more depressing now than they were in the 1970s when he played Michael Corleone, the crime boss in "The Godfather" movies, Pacino said:

"I don't know that films are more depressing now, I don't know, but I think that in my earlier films I have to say that in 'Godfather Two' I would imagine that Michael Corleone was depressed."

Pacino also said he'd never been a Hollywood actor in the traditional sense, but that did not mean he was critical of it.

"Hollywood is really what it always was, I'm not an expert, I never went there...my association with it was not unfriendly it just wasn't really clear and it still isn't," he said.

He said a new generation had taken over from what was often immigrant stock from Europe that had founded Hollywood and now different kinds of people ran studios.

"It's not about being better or worse, it's just different," he said. "And they do some great stuff, great films."

"Manglehorn" is competing for the festival's Golden Lion trophy, to be awarded next week, while "The Humbling" was shown out of competition.

In an Internet review, The Hollywood Reporter trade publication said "Manglehorn" suffered from a "ham-fisted script, which painstakingly spells out every metaphor, whether it's spoken or visual".

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