Hollywood invades the Cannes Film Festival
Plus, Nicole Kidman is stalked, ''Survivor's'' Tina gets some shut eye, and more
CANNES OPENER The French may find us vulgar, tacky, and obnoxious, but they love our movies. So it seems as the 54th annual Cannes International Film Festival begins today with a slate heavy on Hollywood fare. Opening the festival is the musical ”Moulin Rouge,” starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, which will be feted with a yacht party at the harbor, complete with cancan girls. It’s one of five American films out of 19 competing for the grand prize, the Palme d’Or.
Others include the Coen Brothers‘ ”The Man Who Wasn’t There,” starring Frances McDormand and Billy Bob Thornton; animated fairy tale spoof ”Shrek,” featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz; David Lynch‘s ”Mulholland Drive,” the pilot for a post- ”Twin Peaks” series that ABC scrapped; and Sean Penn‘s ”The Pledge,” with Jack Nicholson.
There are plenty of other American films playing out of competition at the 12 day fest, notably Francis Ford Coppola‘s director’s cut of 1979 Palme d’Or winner ”Apocalypse Now,” which will be 53 minutes longer than the previous 153 minute version. The horror, the horror.
Francophile Yank Jodie Foster was to have led the Cannes jury but dropped out to star in ”The Panic Room,” replacing Kidman, who was recovering from a knee injury sustained during the ”Moulin Rouge” shoot; instead, Liv Ullmann will oversee a panel that includes director Terry Gilliam, French star Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Taiwan’s Edward Yang, whose film ”Yi Yi” won him the Best Director prize at last year’s festival.
KIDMAN IN ’04 As if Nicole Kidman didn’t already have enough drama in her life, she filed a restraining order Monday against an alleged stalker. The filing claims that Michael E. Hooker of Los Angeles has shown up at her house twice, asking to take her out for ice cream or to the ballet; contacted her by phone and letter; offered to serenade her and tutor her children; and posted a love poem to her on his website, on which he also announces that he is running for president in 2004 and wants Kidman to be his first lady. At last, a campaign platform we can all get behind.
‘SURVIVOR”S REALITY BITES It wasn’t just serendipity that allowed ”Survivor” camera crews to capture such incredible shots of the show’s physical competitions. Some of the events were reenacted, using stand ins for the contestants, producer Mark Burnett told the New York Times yesterday. He said that he restaged events only to compensate for poor camera angles, and that the reenactments never affected the outcome of the contests.
In any case, ”Survivor”’s sweeps week ratings victory was real, not to mention exhausting for winner Tina Wesson. The show’s finale helped CBS win its fifth straight week, with 14.4 million average viewers, followed by NBC (11.3 million), ABC (10.4 million) and Fox (8.6 million). But while on her way from New York to Los Angeles to appear on yesterday’s ”Late Late Show” with Craig Kilborn, Wesson passed out from taking a prescribed sleeping pill and nearly missed her flight. ”I’m not good at taking medication. I never take any,” said the Tennessee nurse.
SOFT MONEY In the unlikeliest cross promotional plan yet to publicize Disney’s upcoming ”Pearl Harbor,” Disney owned ABC wanted to air a sweeps week version of ”Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” that would have pitted ”Pearl Harbor” stars like Ben Affleck against politicians who are war veterans, including Senators Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, John McCain of Arizona, John Warner of Virginia, and Pepsi pitchman Bob Dole, former senator from Kansas.
The winnings were to have helped fund the controversial World War II Memorial planned for the Mall in Washington. But the Senate Ethics Committee has given its final answer — no — saying that senators may not accept honoraria greater than $2,000, even for charitable causes. Just as well, since the politicians would have held up the taping polling the audience on every question instead of just the allotted one.
CASTING CALL Antonio Banderas will reprise his gunslinging role from ”Desperado” in ”Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” to be directed by Robert Rodriguez. It will be the third film in the trilogy that began with 1992’s ”El Mariachi,” the $7,000 Spanish language shoot ’em up that launched Rodriguez’s career. He and Banderas are also slated to do a second ”Spy Kids” together.
Kate Hudson will star in the romantic comedy ”How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” (Day One: dress like your great grandmother when you take him to the Oscars.)
Jamie Foxx is toning down his act for the kids. He’ll star in the family comedy ”We Do” for Nickelodeon Movies. He’ll also cowrite and exec produce the feature.
Julianne Moore will star in ”Paris Underground” as one of two real life women who served in the French resistance against the Nazis. Based on Etta Scheiber’s 1997 book, the film will tell the story of two women, an American and a Briton, who smuggled English soldiers stranded in occupied France back into the U.K.
One Soprano is working with some New York cops. Edie Falco and ”NYPD Blue”’s James McDaniel and Gordon Clapp are among the stars of ”Sunshine State,” the latest from writer / director John Sayles (”Lone Star”). Falco and Angela Bassett play two women fighting to save their small town from commercial overdevelopment. Currently shooting on location in Florida, the film costars Mary Steenburgen, Timothy Hutton, and ”Traffic”’s Miguel Ferrer.
He got sent to hell in ”Ghost,” but Tony Goldwyn will play a man who may be the second coming of Jesus Christ in ”Joshua.” Based on the novel by Joseph F. Girzone, the film will shoot this month in Chicago.</p