Irons' screen and stage career started in the 1970s. He won a best actor Oscar in 1991 for his role in “Reversal of Fortune” and had acclaimed performances in films including “the French Lieutenant's Woman” and “The Mission” as well as the 1981 TV miniseries “Brideshead Revisited.”
Irons said in a statement released by festival organizers that he was taking on the festival role “with feelings of great pleasure and not inconsiderable honor.” “With his distinctive style, Jeremy Irons has embodied some iconic characters that have accompanied me throughout my journey in cinema, making me aware of the complexity of human beings," Carlo Chatrian, the festival's artistic director, said.
This year's festival is the first under the leadership of Chatrian, who previously headed the Locarno film festival, and executive director Mariette Rissenbeek. The duo replaced Dieter Kosslick, who directed the event for 18 years.