If there is one place Jerry Lewis can go to get an ego boost it is clearly here in France, a country that has had a collective love affair with the comedian his entire career. Lewis, now 87, has been here many times to collect awards and adoration , he’s even made French movies but he hasn’t been in Cannes for about two decades so it was a big deal Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival when Max Rose, the first movie in which he has starred in 18 years, premiered to a standing ovation for Lewis (naturally) and turnaway crowd (filled with many locals). The film is anything but a typical vehicle for Lewis as it is a sentimental and somewhat serious study of the dilemna of old age and how we treat our senior citizens when life throws them a curveball just when they least expected it. Presented Out Of Competition and billed as an “homage to Jerry Lewis”, the film came about when first-time writer/director Daniel Noah approached him to play the role , and much to his surprise, Lewis accepted right away telling the filmmaker it was the best script he had read in 40 years. Clearly it also spoke to him personally.
Hammond On Cannes: French Hero Jerry Lewis On His Return To Movies, Unfunny Women, And The Film You Will Never See
Dean Stockwell will be joining Jerry Lewis in Max Rose. The Blue Velvet actor will play Ben Tracy in the comic’s return to the big screen. The character is an old friend of Lewis’ title character. Oscar nominee Stockwell was seen recently in the coming of ager C.O.G., which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20. Helmed by first time director Daniel Noah, Max Rose marks Lewis’ first movie role since 1995’s Funny Bones. Shooting in LA, Max Rose is produced by Mosaic Media Group’s Lawrence Inglee and Lightstream Pictures’ Garrett Kelleher. Dean Stockwell is repped by Open Entertainment.
BREAKING: In his first film starring role since 1995′s Funny Bones, Jerry Lewis starts work tomorrow in the starring role of the indie feature Max Rose. Directed by Daniel Noah from his script, the film is a drama about a jazz pianist who has recently lost his wife of over five decades. A discovery made days before her death causes Max to believe his marriage was a lie. He embarks on an exploration of his own past that brings him face to face with a menagerie of characters from a bygone era. Noah is making his directing debut.
While he has done stage work, the 86-year-old Lewis hasn’t done much in the way of films in a long time. Before Funny Bones his last big starring role came in 1983′s Martin Scorsese-directed The King Of Comedy, opposite Robert De Niro.
Lewis stars with Claire Bloom, Kevin Pollak, Argo‘s Kerry Bishe and Mort Sahl. It’s a reunion for Sahl and Lewis, as Sahl appeared on Lewis’ 1963 comedy variety series. The project was trotted out several Cannes Film Festivals ago, but then languished.