As my friend’s alarm clock signalled 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 Mandarin, 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!”
As soon as I said “thank you!” to Keanu I had to run to my next interview, weaving my way through the chaotic Croisette. Where have all these people come from? I pondered, as I narrowly missed being run over by a motor scooter. Between the cars, the hordes of people, the paparazzi, the stars and the gawking onlookers, I’m surprised I haven’t died yet.
Getting to the Carlton hotel in one piece, I went straight to a TV interview with Oscar Isaac from ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’. Well, if he isn’t the nicest guy in the world! I told him how I always think of him as an Aussie, because ‘Balibo’ was the first film I remember seeing him in. He wasn’t playing an Australian, but it’s a very Australian story, so I always make that association. He laughed and said how he has only been to Darwin, but really wants to visit the rest of the country soon.
After Oscar, it was time for my four minutes with Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan, who also star in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’. I’ve interviewed them both before, and I swear, Carey gets more beautiful every time. Today she was resplendent with her blonde hair in waves and a chic black suit. Justin Timberlake is all well-dressed swag and southern manners, though can be a little tough to interview. But on speaking about this film, his eyes lit up as he explained it was like, “so many different dreams I would have for myself all happening at the same time, I’m getting to rearrange songs with T-Bone Burnett, I’m getting to work with the Coen brothers, there’s music and film and they’re happening at the same time…”
“And excellent sweaters…” I offered.
“Excellent sweaters…” he repeated.
“Great facial hair…” offered Carey.
“Avant garde facial hair…” he continued, “What more could a girl ask for??”
After a quick break and cheeky glass of wine in the sun, I was back at the Carlton for another interview with Oscar Isaac, this time for print. He charmed the pants off me (not literally) and I left feeling a little in love with him. He’s genuine and warm, and made the interview into a real conversation, considering the questions and giving his honest answers. He spoke about how he has been playing music since he was 13, mentioning his former unsuccessful bands, “Paper Face, The Petrified Frogs, The Closet Heterosexuals, The Worms, The Blinking Underdogs…” Brilliant. Oscar admitted working with the Coens had been a dream of his, he had a poster for ‘Miller’s Crossing’ on his wall during high school, and if he could just work with them forever, he would be happy. He said they’re like “one brain in two places” and are the warmest people, citing an example where some children walked past the set and they let them watch a scene on the monitor. And in speaking about the cat and how it relates to the story in the film, Oscar enjoyed when I pointed out how it’s like the literal version of the screenwriting term “To Save The Cat”, the theory that you should make your character do something nice (like save a cat) early in the film so the audience likes them.
Late, late tonight, I’m seeing James Franco’s ‘As I Lay Dying’, the movie he directs and stars in, which is playing as part of the Un Certain Regard section. Franco is a jack-of-all-trades, who apparently has more time than anyone else on Earth to do a million things. I will ask him how he does it when I interview him tomorrow. Also on tomorrow are interviews with Clive Owen from ‘Blood Ties’ and Michael Douglas (yeah!) about ‘Behind The Candelabra’, which I’ll see at 8:30am in the morning. Keep an eye on my twitter for all my reactions, or critweets (critic tweets) as my friend Scotty likes to call them.