Listen to (and share) episode 27, a special Cannes Film Festival edition of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and other notable films screened in competition so far at Cannes; the legacy of Liz Taylor and a restored Cleopatra; and whether Oscar season should just officially start with the festival, given its recent success in spotlighting awards-worthy films.
The sun finally came back to a windy and rainy Cannes but the weather clearly couldn’t slow the nonstop parties, premieres, deals and hype for which this festival is famous. And despite the rain on Saturday the turnout for Lionsgate’s big Catching Fire bash was wall-to-wall at Baoli Beach, with everyone including star Jennifer Lawrence crowded into the large tent. One exec there actually was happy with the monsoon-like conditions. “The rain probably kept 30% of our RSVPs away which is probably good because i don’t know how we could have squeezed them in,” he said.
With everyone drying out Sunday there seemed to be even more party-hopping than usual. At the crowded Participant Films party at the Carlton, Focus Features CEO James Schamus was accepting congratulations on his re-upping at the company. I have rarely heard him wax more eloquently about a film than Focus’ recent pickup of The Dallas Buyers Club, the movie where Matthew McConaughey lost about 50 pounds to play an early AIDS victim. It’s not dated yet according to Schamus but is planned for fall sometime. “It’s just a bloodbath trying to pick the right date in that period but this movie is extraordinary. I just so admire what Matthew has been doing with his career in the last couple of years between Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Mud and now this. You know me, I don’t rave like this a lot, but he really knocks this one out of the park. It is the performance of a lifetime,” he says of the actor in a film that is sure to be a main focus of Focus’ awards-season plans.
Hammond On Cannes: Wet Fest’s Official Competition Finally Heats Up With Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
The first purely American entry in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival competition (opening nighter The Great Gatsby was Out of Competition), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen‘s terrific Inside Llewyn Davis had its first press screening Saturday night to strong response and big buzz on the very rainy Croisette. This tale of a talented folk singer unable to balance art and commerce, and who never quite hits the big time in the late ’50s/early ’60s emerging folk scene, is pure Coen Brothers with a winning mixture of brilliantly observed comedy and darker moments that give it an edge most reminiscent of Coen movies like Barton Fink, which won the Palme d’Or on their first try at Cannes in 1991. Joel Coen also took the Director award that year and again for The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) among the seven previous times they have been in the Cannes competition. 1994′s The Hudsucker Proxy, 1996′s Fargo, 2000′s O Brother Where Art Thou, 2004′s The Ladykillers and 2007′s No Country For Old Men represent their other numerous chances to reap a second Palme d’Or since Barton Fink but none of them did the trick.
Judging from initial reaction, at least among the press, Inside Llewyn Davis probably makes them an early front-runner for that second Palme. We say early since the film doesn’t have its official black tie premiere at the Palais until Sunday night, only the fourth day of the competition. But with its superb acting including leading man Oscar Isaac as the morose but oddly engaging Llewyn and a great supporting cast including Carey Mulligan, John Goodman (just great), Justin Timberlake, Stark Sands and a scene-stealing cat (or cats? – you’ll see) among others, plus the Coens’ knack for catching this era in all its glory, I suspect this will remain a contender for the entire week of debuts to come.
TORONTO, CANADA (May 16, 2013) – Mongrel Media announced today that the company
has acquired all Canadian rights to INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Written and directed
by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen, and produced by Scott Rudin, and Joel and
Ethan Coen, the film stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John
CANNES: Below I’ve compiled this year’s list of what Cannes films are most often being mentioned by potential buyers. But already there’s been a bit of action in the marketplace, with Warner Bros acquiring domestic on the Ryan Gosling-directed How To Catch A Monster. Sellers feel a good appetite for deal-making is in the air. “This has been the busiest month we’ve had going into a Cannes Film Festival. The frenetic activity has never been this intense,” said Roeg Sutherland, who runs CAA’s independent film operation with Micah Green. “It’s not that a lot of new companies are jumping in like they did last year. But we’re seeing those companies coming back here with good slates, which is the healthiest thing for everybody.” I can tell you that sellers this year are cautiously optimistic this Cannes market will be closer to 2011′s when sales were made on the basis of sizzle reels. (Harvey Weinstein made a big bet on The Iron Lady after watching seven minutes of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, and John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Rian Johnson’s Looper sold on the basis of preview reels as well.) Not even rain in the forecast for the next couple of days can depress the upbreat attitudes here. After all, at last Cannes, the sellers market on the Croisette belonged to the umbrella salesman getting 40 Euros a pop in a nonstop torrential downpour that put a figurative damper on the entire market. We all known you cannot measure the success of Cannes the way you can Toronto and Sundance. If buyers don’t buy, sellers are in trouble. Here, a chance conversation with a high net worth individual can make the whole Cannes experience worthwhile. This is a festival of intangibles, and players have to make the time to hustle at the Hotel Du Cap where the billionaire investors roam and the movie stars are stashed until they have to come to the Croisette for premieres. That’s as glitzy as it gets here, but sellers and buyers tell me they do most of their business over a drink at the Carlton and Majestic Hotels, and to a lesser degree the Martinez. Agents especially have “how I won the war” Cannes stories of unexpected encounters that turned into game-changing deals.
“Beyond the competition and the exposure that is so good for the careers of your clients, it is an important place to create a moment that leads to films getting financed,” said UTA’s Rich Klubeck. “Two years ago, we met with the guys at Studio Canal who’d said they missed being in business with Joel and Ethan Coen. We had another meeting in New York and they wrote the check for Inside Llewyn Davis, which premieres here. It could not have been a better situation. They have proven to be perfect partners.” That deal allowed the Coens and producer Scott Rudin to shoot the 1960s folk movie without pressure to find early domestic distribution. The picture went to CBS Films after the filmmakers showed the finished product to a crowd of buyers. “We got to take our time, hear the marketing plans offered by each distributor, and pick the perfect situation,” Klubeck told me. “This is a good place where a lot of stuff happens.”
After two years in a row of heavily influencing the Oscar race, the 66th Cannes Film Festival lineup may make it three this year. Certainly I see very long and winding Croisette lines to pick up press or market credentials at the Palais, which is adorned with posters of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in a provocative still shot from their fluffy France-set 1963 comedy A New Kind Of Love. One early clue came when the jury was announced, beginning with President Steven Spielberg and including such Oscar winners as Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz. And if it’s not enough to have those icons prominent at this year’s fest, add The Great Gatsby‘s Baz Lurhmann whose film is the opening night event with a gala after-party, and Martin Scorsese who will also be in town for a yacht party announcement of his longtime gestating directorial effort Silence on May 16th. Certainly many of the Cannes contenders both in and out of competition are from Academy Award winners and Cannes veterans back with intriguing films that make up a high profile and potent selection with advance buzz. Competing are the Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Roman Polanski and Alexander Payne plus a slew of famous names in front of the cameras both on screen and on the Red Carpet this year.
As for the competition and key sidebars, one perennial Cannes question os whether it’s a good idea to ready or even rush a film designed for year-end release in order to play at the Festival in May. Particularly of that means risking negative reviews which can be a real buzz killer. Take, for instance, Payne’s last minute entry Nebraska from Paramount, which almost didn’t appear here. In the initial forecast Deadline posted on March 13, we thought Payne’s film fit in with the auteurist nature of the fest, it’s in black and white, and its filmmaker is quite a favorite in Cannes. (He has had only one film previously in competition – 2002′s About Schmidt – and won no prize, but he not only headed the jury for Un Certain Regard in 2005 but also was a member of the main competition jury last year.) Yet shortly after this prediction I was told Cannes wasn’t in the cards due to Payne’s fondness for long post-production time. He didn’t want to be rushed. Then the studio saw the film about a week before the Cannes deadline and execs urged Payne to put it into the festival. He took Nebraska to Paris to show to Cannes programming honcho Thierry Fremaux with just two days to go before the press conference announcing the 2013 lineup. Now it is one of the most anticipated screenings even though it ooccurs towards the end of the Festival on May 23. Paramount claims it recently had a successful research screening in Pasadena and has dated the film for November 22nd, right in the heart of Oscar season (Payne is a two-time Screenwriting Oscar winner for Sideways and The Descendants).
Conversely there was absolutely no doubt Joel and Ethan Coen would be bringing their latest, the 1960′s-set Greenwich Village folk music tale Inside Llewyn Davis screening on May 19. It is their 8th time around this particular block so they are virtually Cannes regulars. CBS Films won’t release the movie stateside until December 6, another prime Oscar date.
Roman Polanski’s Venus In Fur screening on May 25 on the last day of competition is the adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway play. It brings Polanski back to Cannes for the first time since winning his only Palme d’Or (for 2003′s The Pianist, which resulted in a Best Director Oscar). It stars his wife Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Almarac and though audiences and critics weren’t too impressed with the last Polanski Broadway play adaptation God Of Carnage, this dramatic work could be more up his alley. There’s also strong interest in French director Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian screening May 18 largely due to lead actor Benecio Del Toro’s role as a Blackfoot Indian WWII vet. (But someone’s gotta change that lumbering title.) Cannes watchers also are buzzing about new works from three directors who are no strangers on the Croisette: Nicolas Winding Refn who won Best Director in Cannes for 2011′s Drive and has re-teamed with star Ryan Gosling as a drug smuggler in the May 22nd entry Only God Forgives. (I am told Kristin Scott Thomas steals this one as his mother). And though his films don’t make much noise in theatres, James Gray is a Cannes favorite and back with his fourth competition entry, The Immigrant (formerly called Lowlife) screening May 24th with a starry cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner. Jim Jarmusch brings his new Vampire story Only Lovers Left Alive which stars the always intriguing Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska . It has the distinction of being the last film to make the list and the last competition film to be screened: in the 10 PM slot on May 25th.
As always with Cannes there is just too damn much to see with many sidebar competitions like Un Certain Regard, Director’s Fortnight, Critics Week, Cannes Classics and so on. Certainly the opener for Un Certain Regard, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Ryan Coogler’s Sundance sensation Fruitvale Station (summer releases stateside) are both screening on the sidebar’s first day of May 16th and are instant must-sees in addition to James Franco’s directorial outing, As I Lay Dying, on May 20th.
A little over a month ago, we pulled together our primer for what films we might see in the Cannes Film Festival’s official selection this year. The festival’s Thierry Frémaux will announce the bulk of his picks Thursday morning in Paris — he usually leaves a few surprises for later. Nothing is confirmed until he unveils the lineup, although the fest threw a curveball by announcing late Wednesday night French time that Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring would open the Un Certain Regard sidebar; it had indeed been expected to figure somewhere in the mix. Below is a recap and update on the possibilities to make the final cut, or not, in an official category.
Among titles considered near shoo-ins are the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. The Coens are Cannes favorites who haven’t been in competition since 2007’s No Country For Old Men. Winding-Refn won the Cannes directing prize in 2011 with Drive and there is a lot of heat on this Thailand-set follow-up which reteams him with Drive‘s Ryan Gosling.
As for other English-language films, J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, a man vs. nature drama we hear boasts a tour de force performance from Robert Redford, continues to have strong buzz. Guillaume Canet’s Blood Ties starring Marion Cotillard, Clive Owen, Zoe Saldana and Mila Kunis is another that’s mentioned quite a bit as is James Gray’s Lowlife, which also stars Cotillard. If Jim Jarmusch landed a slot with vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive as is tipped, it would mark his 10th time in selection. French helmer Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy Picard with Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric, and based on the George Devereux book Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian, is another we hear about with more frequency. Steven Soderbergh’s HBO Liberace movie Behind The Candelabra looks destined for a special berth.
Fresh from the Coen brothers-directed Inside Llewyn Davis, Oscar Isaac has signed to star in Partisan, an indie film that marks the directing debut of Ariel Kleiman, who wrote the script. The film is described as a confronting fable about a vengeful man raising his children to attack the world that wronged him. Kleiman’s short Deeper Than Yesterday won the Jury Prize for Best International Short film at 2011 Sundance. The project is backed by Warp Films Australia, whose Anna McLeish and Sarah Shawn just produced The Snowtown Murders.
Now that the Cannes Film Festival has announced Steven Spielberg as jury president and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby as the curtain raiser, speculation as to what the 66th running of the event holds in store will continue to mount until the mid-April press conference that officially unveils the lineup. Gatsby was pretty much a no-brainer what with its local May 15 release date falling on the day the fest kicks off and its story based on the classic novel F. Scott Fitzgerald completed in Valescure, less than 100 kilometers from the Palais. Folks are excited since arguably the most memorable Cannes opening night in the past 12 years — we were there — was with Luhrmann’s 2001 Moulin Rouge. (It’s also a nice dovetail for fest chief Thierry Frémaux: The first film he ever selected for Cannes was Moulin Rouge.) But, we can put to rest speculation about another movie with a subject close to the South of France gracing the Croisette: We understand that Grace Of Monaco, the biopic about the actress-turned-princess played by Nicole Kidman, directed by Olivier Dahan and recently acquired by The Weinstein Company, will not be making a Cannes run. Further, we’ve confirmed that Lars von Trier — a persona non grata at the 2011 fest for his Nazi-flavored comments — will not be ready with Nymphomaniac, the four-hour sex-o-rama that sold like hotcakes in Berlin. We also understand that J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness, once thought a possibility for an Out Of Competition slot, is not coming. And, despite Pedro Almodovar’s almost given place on the Croisette, we’ve heard his I’m So Excited is also unlikely to appear at the Palais.
But let’s forget about what’s not going and focus on all the films we might see. We’re consistently hearing that this year will include “the usual suspects” in official selection. The Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis is a strong possibility – CBS Films just acquired the pic which screened on the Sony lot in late February, although Frémaux said he had not yet seen the film as of his trip to the Oscars last month. Llewyn Davis doesn’t have a release date in the U.S. yet, and its French release, via StudioCanal, is in December, but it’s worth recalling that the Coens’ No Country For Old Men bowed in Cannes in 2007 and wasn’t released Stateside until November that year before going on to win the Best Picture Oscar.
Also ripe is Sofia Coppola’s young Hollywood robbers tale The Bling Ring, for which upstart distributor A24 has set a June 14 U.S. release. Pathé is releasing in France on June 5, just a couple weeks after the fest wraps. The addition of Coppola to the roster could help calm the naysayers last year who complained there were no female directors in the main lineup. Another female director who could make the cut is Kelly Reichardt with Night Moves, starring Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard and Jesse Eisenberg, about environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam.
Baz Luhrmann’s 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby will kick off the 66th Cannes Film Festival on May 15, organizers said today. The Warner Bros drama will screen in the out-of-competition selection. The latest adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke. It opens in the U.S. on May 10 but day-and-date with its May 15 Cannes launch in France.
This was basically a no-brainer decision. Luhrmann is a favorite of the festival, and his 2001 musical drama Moulin Rouge still remains one of the splashiest opening nights in Cannes history with an elaborate, very expensive party thrown by distributor 20th Century Fox afterward. Those who were there (I was among them) will not soon forget the extragance of it all, and certainly if any other movie might deserve the same opulent treatment it is Luhrmann’s Gatsby, which was delayed from an awards-season opening in 2012 by Warner Bros so the director could continue to refine the ambitious film. Whether the studio will spring for a kickoff like a party Jay Gatsby himself might throw remains an open question, especially since it won’t be the world premiere of the film, but nevertheless it is worth the speculation.
Exhibitors actually got their first look at the 3D drama almost a full year ago when Warners previewed footage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas as part of their 2012 slate sneak look. After it was delayed by the studio into a 2013 debut, a Cannes opening seemed inevitable, particularly with the prospect of getting big star names like DiCaprio, Maguire and Mulligan to come to the Croisette for a glamorous European premiere.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has landed domestic distribution rights to Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis. The film attracted heavy interest after its first screening was held last week on the Sony lot, one that drew a music crowd, a constellation of movie stars and numerous studio execs. The result was, everybody got hot and bothered about the film. I’m hearing there were three bidders for the pic and CBS Films got the film for close to $4 million for U.S. rights. Oscar Isaac stars in the pic, which takes place in the folk-music circuit in downtown New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham and Justin Timberlake co-star.
The Coens and producer Scott Rudin, reteaming after True Grit and No Country For Old Men, made the film without a domestic distributor; Studio Canal fully financed and is releasing in some international territories and brokering offshore deals in other territories. UTA negotiated the CBS Films deal on behalf of the filmmakers.
The first screening of Inside Llewyn Davis quietly took place last Saturday night in a screening room on the Sony lot. That’s the new film by …