Hotly anticipated superhero movie "Joker," starring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman's historic foe, will premiere at this year's Venice Film Festival, organizers of the event said Thursday. Festival director Alberto Barbera described Todd Phillips' film, also featuring Robert De Niro, as a "totally unexpected" take on the Batman franchise.
"Joker" will be one of 21 films vying for the top Golden Lion award.
Other notable titles in competition include Steven Soderbergh's "The Laundromat" on the Panama Papers scandal, starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas; James Gray's "Ad Astra," with Brad Pitt as an astronaut; and Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story," with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.
In the non-competition sector, Venice will host the premiere of "Adults in the Room," a look at Greece's financial crisis based on the memoirs of former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and shot by veteran filmmaker Costa-Gavras.
Shakespearean drama "The King," directed by David Michod and starring Timothee Chalamet as Henry V and Robert Pattinson in a supporting role, is another high-profile movie due to debut the out-of-competition section.
Two TV series feature in that same category: "ZeroZeroZero" on the cocaine trade, adapted from a book by bestselling Italian crime writer Roberto Saviano, and "The New Pope," a follow up to "Young Pope" by Italian Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino.
Venice hosts the world's oldest film festival, established in 1932, and has recently established itself as a launchpad for major Hollywood productions. This year's edition is scheduled to run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.