Argentine popstar Lali channels fame to play infamous murder suspect

The 75th Venice International Film Festival - Screening of the film "Acusada" competing in the Venezia 75 section - Red carpet arrivals - Venice, Italy, September 4, 2018 - Director Gonzalo Tobal and actors Leonardo Sbaraglia and Lali Esposito. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - Argentine popstar Lali Esposito has channeled her long experience of fame to play a young woman who ends up in the public eye for the wrong reasons, in “The Accused”, a movie that premiered in Venice this week.

Known simply as Lali to her fans, Esposito was a TV actress at age 12 before moving into pop music, and, at 26, now stars in a film competing for a Golden Lion at the Italian film festival.

She plays Dolores, on trial for the murder of her best friend who had posted online a video of Dolores having sex - a case that has titillated and enthralled the public who take to television and the internet to debate whether she is guilty.

“At a certain point, Dolores is a rock star, she becomes something of a rock star because of the crime,” Lali told Reuters in an interview.

“Having all this energy directed at you, how people point at you and want to know all about you, that’s the only thing I had in common with her: the people think they know you and people think they can judge your life.”

At one point, Dolores’s lawyer persuades her to appear on a TV chat show to try to salvage her public image - an interview that quickly turns into a cross examination.

Argentine writer-director Gonzalo Tobal said he was inspired to make the film after watching crime cases effectively being tried in the media.

“(Those cases are) constructed almost as if they were staged and edited, like they were a reality show or a telenovela which we consume as fiction ... while I am aware, as a director, of all the work that may be taking place behind their narration of events,” Tobal said.

“The Accused” is among the 21 films in the main competition at the Venice Film Festival that ends on Saturday.

Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg