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VENICE WATCH: 'Star Wars' stars keep mum in Venice; 'Boxtrolls' offers absurdist animation

From left, actors Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher pose during the photo call for the movie Hungry Hearts at the 71st edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

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From left, actors Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher pose during the photo call for the movie Hungry Hearts at the 71st edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VENICE, Italy - The Venice Film Festival is bringing 11 days of red carpet premieres, innovative movies and Hollywood glamour to the Italian city. Here's what has been catching the eye of The Associated Press:

'STAR WARS' ACTORS KEEP MUM IN VENICE

The first rule of Venice is, you don't talk about "Star Wars."

Cast members of the forthcoming "Episode VII" who are in the Italian city for the Venice Film Festival are keeping mum about details of the ultra-anticipated movie.

British actress Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth in "Game of Thrones" and Commander Lyme in two "Hunger Games" movies, joked at a Vanity Fair-sponsored party that "Star Wars" producers had gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain secrecy.

"There's snipers trained on us right now," she said at an event to celebrate a collaboration between celebrity photographer Rankin and Johnnie Walker whiskey aimed at capturing rising entertainment stars.

Adam Driver, in Venice with festival entry "Hungry Hearts," was similarly terse when asked what it was like to walk onto the "Star Wars" set for the first time.

"I will say this — it's surreal," he said.

—By Louise Dixon

'BOXTROLLS' ANIMATOR SEES HIMSELF ONSCREEN

It's not unusual for filmmakers to put themselves into their characters. But they're usually not squat subterranean creatures dressed in recycled cardboard.

Stop-motion animated feature "The Boxtrolls" is about a community of underground creatures who scavenge trash from the humans above to build elaborate mechanical devices.

Producer and animator Travis Knight said the nocturnal Boxtrolls were a bit like their creators.

"They are these kind of shy, timid creatures who have questionable fashion sense and deplorable personal hygiene, who work in the dark and create little marvels of invention," Knight told a Venice Film Festival news conference. "That's what stop-motion animators do. So we are clearly Boxtrolls."

The film, which screened out of competition at the festival on Sunday, is the latest work from Laika, the Portland, Oregon-based studio behind "Coraline" and "ParaNorman."

Based on Alan Snow's children's adventure novel "Here Be Monsters," it features the voices of Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Tracy Morgan and teenage "Game of Thrones" actor Isaac Hempstead Wright as Eggs, a human boy raised by the Boxtrolls.

Director Anthony Stacci said the film aimed to combine absurdist humour and social satire — "'Oliver Twist' if it was made by Monty Python."

—By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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