As my friend’s alarm clock signaled the start of another Cannes day, I tentatively opened my eyes, scared to feel the presence of a hangover. There was none, and I was relieved that I had enough sense to stop after a few glasses of champagne last night, which was flowing freely at the Weinstein party.
The parties in Cannes are held in giant marquees alongside the beachfront, one after another, on the opposite side of the street to the hotels which own them. With their white tents, moody lighting, questionable dance music and guests in their best formal attire; these parties could be mistaken for some sort of elaborate destination wedding. Scanning the room for familiar faces, I was grateful to have my mate Will with me, as I saw the mix of flashy Europeans, impossibly beautiful locals, VIPs behind obnoxious velvet ropes, fabulous nobodies and nobody fabulous. Seeing a face I knew, I smiled, started to open my mouth to form a ‘Hi!’ when I realized… it was Clive Owen. Ah, don’t really know you then…
Finally getting myself out of bed and presentable, I rushed back to the Majestic Hotel for an exclusive (for Australia) interview with Keanu Reeves. The sun was out again; along with le wind (which played havoc with le hair, I know, boo hoo for me) and I noticed how the umbrella sellers had transformed themselves, now hawking possibly dodgy sunglasses and hats. They are a resourceful bunch.
Keanu Reeves spoke to me about his directorial debut, ‘Man of Tai Chi’, a kung fu film in English, Cantonese and Manadarin, which he admitted, “wasn’t the easiest sell”. I asked if working on the documentary “Side By Side” (which you should watch if you’re a film geek, it’s great) had been almost like doing film school for him, and he said it had, and also helped him to make the decision to shoot digitally (on the Alexa – for any camera nerds out there). Keanu said he enjoyed his time in the director’s chair, particularly setting up the shots, and took five years developing the story with Chen Hu. Chen is a stuntman who worked with Keanu on ‘The Matrix’, they became friends and wanted to work on a film together. Chen stars in the movie as a Tai Chi guy (what’s the correct term? Master?) who is forced by Keanu’s character to fight kung fu in order to save his temple. The movie is a co-production with China, and Australia put in a bit of cash and some crew members too, who Keanu gave a shout out to during the interview… “Hi Sharon!”
“Shazza, you mean…” I corrected him.
“Oh yes,” he said, laughing, and tried his best Australian accent, “Shazza!”
Today I chatted with Keanu Reeves about his kung-fu fighting directorial debut, ‘Man of Tai Chi’; my new crush Oscar Isaac about ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, and Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan also about the Coens’ Llewyn Davis film. I swear JT was happy to see me, despite appearances.
James Franco has arrived! He’s here with his film, ‘As I Lay Dying’, which he directs/stars/does the catering for. Not sure about the last one, but fully expecting the credits to just have his name under each crew position. He does everything! How cute is his smile?
The fabulous Coen brothers brought their film, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ up the red steps to premiere at Cannes, and stars Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and jury members Steven Spielberg and Nicole Kidman in their finest for the night. This film is fantastic, my favorite so far!
It’s amazing how the weather can affect your mood. Walking out into the sun this morning, seeing the rain cleaned streets sparkle, I almost wanted to kick up my heels, pull out some jazz hands and possibly break into song. If only I could sing.
With the sun warming my face I walked up to the fancy Majestic hotel for a special breakfast put on by the Weinstein Company to get international buyers jazzed about Tim Burton’s next film, ‘Big Eyes’, and the sequel to ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’. Sitting next to a lovely buyer from South Korea, I helped myself to the croissants and coffee, explaining to him that I was press from Australia, and not here to buy the film, just to listen.
Tim Burton and Christoph Waltz took to the stage to explain ‘Big Eyes’. It’s based on the real life relationship between painters Walter and Margaret Keane, and the controversy that surrounded Walter’s kitschy paintings of children with giant eyes. After Margaret claimed that she had painted the eyes, the two former lovers had a public “paint-off” in San Francisco. Christoph will be starring as Walter, with Amy Adams as Margaret. Christoph said he’s had a crush on Amy Adams for a long time, and though he has “had a good run with Quentin Tarantino”, he has wanted to work with Tim Burton since Beetlejuice.
Christoph prickled at a question from one of the potential buyers demanding to know “What else is this film about?? I can’t sell this just on the relationship! Every movie is a relationship story!” After a bit of back and forth with Burton and Waltz, Harvey Weinstein stepped in to finish the argument, saying, “It’s a Tim Burton film, starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams. It’s a love story, a detective story, a thriller… if you can’t sell it, you’re not the right guy.” To which the room burst into applause and I sat up in my seat, thinking how things had suddenly got really interesting. But back on the film, Burton says he doesn’t think of himself as having a particular ‘style’, but compares ‘Big Eyes’ to ‘Edward Scissorhands’ or ‘Ed Wood’ (this one is also written by the Ed Wood screenwriters) over the effects-driven films he’s done in the last few years. And that made me excited. Shooting starts in July in Vancouver, San Francisco and Hawaii.