VENICE, Italy - US actor Tim Robbins took a thinly-veiled sideswipe at fellow Hollywood stars who failed to follow his example and speak out against the US-led war on Iraq.
Robbins, in Venice to present the world premiere of his latest film "Code 42," said his vehement opposition to the war earlier this year had not damaged his Hollywood career.
US actor Tim Robbins took a thinly-veiled sideswipe at fellow Hollywood stars who failed to follow his example and speak out against the US-led war on Iraq. (AFP/John Mabanglo)
"I think the recent controversy was a gift. It provided an opportunity to speak out about free speech," said Robbins, who added that others in Hollywood and across the United States had wanted to publicly oppose the war -- but chose not to.
"Freedom of speech starts with you opening your mouth and people often abdicate that freedom in their mind.
"They choose not to speak. Once you choose not to speak, you might as well not have it," he said.
But Robbins -- star of "The Shawshank Redemption" and this year's "Mystic River," directed by Clint Eastwood -- admitted the build-up to the war had unnerved him.
"For the first time in my life, I got a bodyguard," he said, referring to the shooting in the Middle East and China of "Code 42," a film by British director Michael Winterbottom.
"But my anxiety had no basis in reality and people were very adult about what was going on, making the distinction between American people and their government," he said.
Winterbottom's futuristic British entry for the Golden Lion prize at the Venice film festival was shot in Shanghai in China; Dubai, capital of the United Arab Emirates; and Jaipur in India.
Set in the near future and co-starring Samantha Morton, it combines a love story, a thriller and an exploration of the consequences of human cloning.
Robbins plays an insurance investigator probing the distribution of false "papellas" or visas, which are being passed to restricted non-citizens who populate the desert areas on the fringes of the cities.
On the way, he begins a doomed relationship with the suspect, Maria, brilliantly played by Morton.
Winterbottom said the film's examination of alienation has many parallels his last film "In This World." The tale of two Afghan men on an epic journey from a refugee camp in Pakistan to London won a Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival.
"Code 42" is one of two British entries for the Golden Lion prize.
Copyright 2003 AFP