Cannes: Coens, U2, Guillermo del Toro, and more

U2_lIt looks like I’ve made it through the first weekend of Cannes, though I’ve slept so little since landing that I really don’t know how I pulled off this feat of survival. As I write this, I’m trying to recreate the puzzle of my weekend, which whizzed by faster than you can say "Encore du vin rouge, s’il vous plait!" Did I actually chat with the lovely and friendly Julianne Moore? (Yes I did.) Did I witness a French journalist from the Cannes TV channel shamelessly accost Bono on the red carpet? (Indeed.) And — what the hell?! — is Billy Bush really staying in my hotel? (Affirmative.)

I promised you a report on the Coen Bros’ No Country for Old Men, which arrived in Cannes as the single most anticipated movie in competition. I’m happy to report that the buzz was 100% on target. I say the taut, horrifically violent film is indeed as good as the Coens’ Blood Simple, with which it shares a similar take-your-sweet-Texas-time pace. As EW’s Dan Fierman and I left the Friday night press screening, we were stunned. A few minutes later, we stood drinking not-very-good Budweiser on the Budweiser yacht, where Jessica Simpson was due to show up to wow us all with insight into her upcoming project, Major Movie Star. It just didn’t feel right, following up the Coen Brothers with the is-it-chicken-or-tuna starlet. So we’re proud to say we split — before the guest of honor even arrived (more than an hour late, from what I hear).

addCredit(“U2: John Shearer/”)

You may have also heard a word or two about a little Michael Moore documentary called Sicko,which enjoyed a warm, enthusiastic Cannes embrace. The Frenchespecially seem to really dig Moore, which makes perfect sense. A goodten minutes of Sicko is a love letter to France’s socializedhealth care system. But wow. I was still surprised to hear that sameBono accoster describe Flint, Mich.’s proudest native son as "ce charmant monsieur."Yep, that translates to "this charming man." (Bonus points, Frenchdude, for inadvertently referencing a classic Smiths song.)

So what the heck was Bono doing on the Riviera? He and the band (pictured) were here for the premiere of their concert film U23D.And they performed two songs — "Vertigo" and "Where the Streets Have NoName" —  atop the hallowed red-carpeted steps. The unruly mob ofrubberneckers went nuts, especially when Bono spoke French, mutteringsomething about "cette plage" as he gestured vaguely in the direction of the beach behind him. Wha???

It all made for a very late night, PopWatchers. But when my alarmwent off on Sunday morning, I actually got right up. See, I had reasonto haul my buns out of bed. Guillermo del Toro had agreed to breakbread with a small group of journalists and I was lucky enough to bethere. The Oscar-winning Pan’s Labyrinth director was here for last night’s premiere of The Orphanage, an excellent, very scary Spanish ghost movie thathe exec-produced. For more than an hour, del Toro recounted various stories,including the one where he chased after a London cab in which he’daccidentally left the beloved notebook in which he writes down anddraws all of his ideas for his movies. (The journal sat safely rightbeside him on the breakfast table yesterday.) He also chatted about Hellboy 2,which he starts shooting in Eastern Europe this summer. The delightfulmorning left little doubt in my mind that del Toro is the friendliest,warmest, most enthusiastic filmmaker on the planet.

What else? New Line treated journalists to a 10-minute screening of footage from The Golden Compass, whichlooks very expensive, very magical, and very confusing. (That last partis probably because I haven’t read any of the books.) Nicole Kidman andDaniel Craig were not there — nor were any cast members for that matter— but director Chris Weitz did his thing and introduced the footage. Itall took place in an unintentionally campy old movie house off theCroisette called the Olympia, which boasts God-awful 1960s orange-vinylseats. Groovy, man.

Here’s what’s coming down the pike: the Angelina Jolie drama about Daniel Pearl, A Mighty Heart, which Dan is watching as we speak; Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a French-language flick that’s starting to generate thumbs-up buzz; and We Own the Night, with Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg. So far, Night‘s the only movie that’s been picked up for distribution — by Sony Columbia for $11.5 million.

Oh yeah, and there’s also the world premiere of some weird little movie called Ocean’s 13. Anyone heard of this?

Comments (17 total) Add your comment
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  • furry_tom

    That’s good to hear about No Country. It seems like forever since a good Coen Bros. movie came out.

  • Peggy R

    I work at Esquire magazine and I’m looking for real, every day guys to enter a contest my job is hosting – Esquire’s Best-Dressed Real Man. We’re looking for regular guys with a sense of style to enter: suit & tie, jeans & a tee… whatever, as long as it’s your own!
    It’s super easy and if you make the final 5, we will fly you to NYC to be on the Today Show & in our magazine, and if you win you get a $10,000 prize: $5,000 in cash and a $5000 Esquire wardrobe!
    The contest is open until Wednesday, May 30 and we’d like for more guys to enter so if you (or someone else you know) might be interested visit: and click on the big yellow button where it says Best-Dressed.
    I hope you and your friends enter and LADIES: be sure to pass along to all your well-dressed male friends!
    Esquire Magazine

  • To Peggy R

    HEY! Your advertisement of your blog and contest is inapropriate and unwelcome. Please stop. Thank you!

  • furry_tom

    What are you talking about To Peggy R? I’m totally entering! Now where’s my fanny pack?

  • Peggy R

    Thanks Furry Tom! Looking forward to seeing your photos! Best of luck!

  • Peggy R

    PS, I’m excited about the Coen Bros, too. I just spent some time at the Tribeca Film Festival and saw some goodies there as well; didn’t make it to Frace, though

  • Martha

    I’m interested to see the trailer/scenes from “The Golden Compass.” The trilogy was really fascinating but I’m not sure how they’re going to bring a lot of the characters or controversial subject matter to the big screen.

  • daisyj

    “not-very-good Budweiser”? You mean there’s variation?

  • furry_tom

    RE: You mean there’s variation
    Yes, there’s “Not-Very-Good Budweiser” and their new flavor “Total Ass.” It’s got electrolytes.
    Thanks Peggy! I wonder if I should wear my mullet up or down.

  • Hey Peg

    Where’s “Frace”? Never been there!

  • daisyj

    Hmm. Sounds tasty, but I think I’ll stick to the cool refreshment of my Miller “The Same Going In As Coming Out” Light. Gotta watch my carbs.
    On a random and unrelated note, is it just me or does anyone else think it would be awesome if Jessica Simpson liked France so much that she decided to pull a Madonna and pretend she was from there, complete with the bad accent? “Ah’m tellin’ ya’ll, zees le fro-mage, eet is gone bad. Ya see? Eet is all runny an’ stuff.”
    It’s just me, isn’t it?

  • matthew

    I think Ocean’s 13 is gonna bomb. But I’ll still see it anyway. :]]

  • matthew

    I think Ocean’s 13 is gonna bomb. But I’ll still see it anyway. :]]

  • Emperor Norton

    Well stop the presses, Esquire mag plant puppet. I’m certainly the best dressed, but I’m not a real man.
    I demand equal access to contests for pseudonymous avatars! Even more, I decree it. Do you hear me?

  • Alicia

    I’m glad they loved Sicko…I can’t wait to see it. Michael Moore is brilliant and this film is going to rock, I can’t wait for people to see how screwed up the American health care system is and hopefully everyone will want to do something about it!!

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