It’s amazing how the weather can affect your mood. Walking out into the sun this morning, seeing the rain cleaned streets sparkle in the sun, I almost wanted to kick up my heels, pull out some jazz hands and possibly break into song. If only I could sing.
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, 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 the Walter’s kitschy paintings of children with giant eyes. Margaret said she did them, and the two had a public “paint-off”. 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 it about, I can’t sell this just on the relationship!” with Harvey Weinstein stepping 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. 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) rather than 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.
Nothing really could be said about ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: Green Destiny’ as they’re all sworn to secrecy, but we did meet director (and legendary fight choreographer) Yuen Woo-Ping, Chinese superstar Donnie Yen, and got a video greeting from Michelle Yeoh. They talked about how they think this one will top the first, without actually saying anything about it.
Straight afterwards I rushed off to the press conference for the Coen brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ where star Oscar Isaac was met with rapturous applause by the press. Could we see Oscar buzz for Oscar? Quite possibly, with Ethan Coen saying they were “screwed until they met Oscar” as they needed an actor who could not only pull off the role, but sing and play guitar live on set at the same time. All the music was recorded on set rather in studios… with the folk music being only slightly less Miserables than ‘Les Miserables’. Justin Timberlake was also at the press conference, and he kept things light when a reporter asked him “How was it for your vanity to play this goateed guy?” (and I thought, his beard now kinda looks the same…) Justin replied that he “enjoys looking ridiculous on a daily basis” and he laughed about a question to the Coens about German humor vs Jewish humor (something about the holocaust was mentioned there too) saying “Woah, that’s a small trap!”
After a quick lunch in the sun with my friend Alex who decided to come to Cannes two days ago, a spur of the moment trip to fulfill a two-year long adventure involving Steven Spielberg, (more on that another day!) I squeezed two films in back to back. First, the Dutch movie ‘Borgman’, directed by Alex van Warmerdam. This movie was not on my radar at all, until I saw some positive tweets after the morning screening. One in particular said it was like “a comedic version of Funny Games” which I completely agree with. It’s about a mysterious homeless man who takes over a house with his mates, putting everyone under some kind of spell. It’s insanely dark, brutal and surprisingly funny. It seems strange to say I enjoyed watching a film where many people were killed… but I did. I doubt ‘Borgman’ will see the light of the cinema screen in Australia or the US, but if you stumble across it in the future on iTunes or Netflix, I recommend!
‘Blood Ties’ was next, a 70’s NY set action thriller(ish) about two brothers – one who is a cop (Billy Crudup) and one who is a criminal (Clive Owen). Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, James Caan and Marion Cotillard are also in the cast doing a whole variety of Brooklyn accents. The action scenes are excellently tense, but the rest… it’s a two and a half hour snoozefest. Shame, given the performances. I almost felt like with a recut to trim it down to the essentials, it would work. But as it is, I was just hoping someone would do something… I dunno, speed in your car! Have a fight! Something.
I’ll have to figure out what to ask the cast when I sit down with them on Tuesday! Tomorrow… I have interviews with Keanu Reeves, who is here for ‘Man of Tai Chi’ and the Coen Brothers. Yep pretty awesome. Add in the sun and I’m a happy chappy. And my trip is only half way through…