By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Sarah Mills
VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger swaps the stage for a film set in "The Burnt Orange Heresy", a thriller about a dishonest and greedy art critic desperate for success and recognition.
"The Square" actor Claes Bang plays the main character James Figueras, a Milan-based art critic tired of giving lectures to American tourists.
When art dealer Joseph Cassidy, played by Jagger, invites him to his luxurious Lake Como villa, the host gives Figueras a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview famous, reclusive artist James Debney in return for stealing one of his paintings.
"Acting and singing on stage is all performing, it's just different kinds of performing, one is live and one isn't," Jagger told a news conference at the Venice Film Festival. "It's the smallest role in the film but it's an important part."
"I really enjoyed doing this movie ... the script was really interesting and different and literary and surprising ... You don't really know if (the main characters) are telling the truth or not and part of the movie is about what is the truth and do we believe these people when they say this."
Jagger, 76, has appeared in films before, and director Giuseppe Capotondi described him as "a fantastic actor, not just a fantastic rock star."
The film, which closes the Venice Film Festival on Saturday in an out-of-competition screening, is based on the novel by Charles Willeford.
"In a way it's a sort of a Faustian tale about power, abuse of power and ambition and mostly about truth ... the masks that we wear everyday to be more accepted or try to be more successful and what happens when you take those masks off," Capotondi told Reuters.
"It's in the form of a film noir, a thriller that I tried to give to a sort Hitchockian feel."
Donald Sutherland, who portrays Debney, said the script was "the best I've read for 20 years".
"I liked the idea of someone who would realize that all he needed to work for was himself," the 84-year-old actor said.
"The Night Manager" actress Elizabeth Debicki plays Berenice Hollis, an American who begins an affair with Figueras.
Asked what it was like to perform alongside Jagger and Sutherland, she told Reuters: "It's like these two legendary humans.
"They both sort of put the energy back on you and you feel very comfortable."
(Editing by Helen Popper)