The Venice Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday

By Helen Murphy
August 28, 2019 12:41 PM
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The stars are descending on Italy for this year’s Venice International Film Festival — including Brad Pitt, whose space thriller Ad Astra premieres at the festival on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Pitt was seen arriving in Venice, keeping things casual in a t-shirt, jacket and newsboy cap. The star, 55, was spotted again on Wednesday and appeared in good spirits as he smiled and waved to fans.

The Venice Film Festival, often seen as the unofficial beginning of Oscars season, kicks off on Wednesday. Among the highly-anticipated films premiering at the festival are Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver‘s Marriage Story, Timothée Chalamet‘s The King and Joker, which stars Joaquin Phoenix.

Kristen Stewart is also expected to attend the Italian festival, for her film Seberg, as well as Ethan Hawke for La vérité (The Truth).

The Laundromat, which stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, will also premiere at the festival.

Also making a controversial return to the festival is disgraced director Roman Polanski, who will screen his new film J’Accuse, marking his first public appearance at a major film festival since losing his membership to the Academy in May 2018.

Brad Pitt
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage
Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Pitt’s Ad Astra, a sci-fi space drama, sees astronaut Roy McBride blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere on a mission to save the world and find his long-lost astronaut father, played by Tommy Lee Jones. Jones’ character Clifford McBride went missing in space years earlier while studying a “highly classified material.”

The actor, who also starred in this summer’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, is having a busy year.

Earlier this month, a source told PEOPLE that Pitt has “worked very hard on himself to be a better, healthier person and to be the best dad possible” since his 2016 split from Angelina Jolie.

“These were always his priorities. That his career is going well is a happy bonus that he is thrilled about,” the source added.

The Venice Film Festival runs from Aug 28th to Sept. 7th. Ad Astra hits theaters on Sept. 20.