Move over Hollywood A-Listers, there’s a new showstopper at the 80th Venice International Film Festival — and it’s a literal bird.
During the Wednesday, August 30, opening day festivities, a pigeon flew onto the scene and walked down the red carpet. Photographers immediately snapped several images of the bird as if it were a Hollywood superstar.
Social media, rightfully, couldn’t get enough of the avian surprise. “The Venice Film Festival pigeon is absolutely slaying,” one social media user wrote via X (formerly Twitter).
Another person added: “Everyone is calling the pigeon on the venice film festival red carpet a scab, which is totally fair, but also my great joy in life is when pigeons walk around on something that makes them seem human. Like when they cross the street at the crosswalk.”
The Italian film festival has raised eyebrows as it takes place in the middle of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) labor strike. Per terms of the strike, union members are forbidden from filming or promoting their past, present and future works. Celebrity attendance at the Venice International Film Festival could have been considered “scabbing” (a.k.a. breaking the rules) without the exemption of an interim waiver.
SAG-AFTRA confirmed earlier this month that they will allow stars to attend the festival to promote independently made film and TV projects, so long as they were not produced by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Both SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have reached a standstill over contract negotiations with the AMPTP regarding streaming residuals, fair wages and artificial intelligence. The union’s Sunday, August 27, statement clarified that any actors — like Jessica Chastain and Adam Driver — attending the film festival in support of an indie project were not crossing the picket line.
“Some of our fellow members have been subject to negative comments for participating in projects with an Interim Agreement, particularly when it comes time for them to promote their work, including at festivals,” the statement read in part. “To be crystal clear, once an agreement is in place, we fully encourage all of our SAG-AFTRA members to work under that agreement AND to promote work made under that agreement. The more projects that get made with the Interim Agreement, the weaker the AMPTP becomes. So, let’s lift up our fellow performers who are out there working.”
“I’m very proud to be here to be a visual representation of a movie that’s not part of the AMPTP and to promote the SAG leadership directive, which is an effective tactic, which is the interim agreement,” the Star Wars actor told reporters on Thursday, August 31, per Variety. “The other objective is obviously to say, why is it that a smaller distribution company like Neon and STX International can meet the dream demands of what SAG is asking for — this is pre-negotiations — the dream version of SAG’s wishlist, but a big company like Netflix and Amazon can’t?”
He continued: “And every time people from SAG go and support a movie that has met the terms of the interim agreement, it just makes it more obvious that these people are willing to support the people that they collaborate with, and the others are not.”