A Katzenberg on a Google yacht, torched Ferraris, Lupita Nyong’o’s hide and seek, UberJets and fake paparazzi. What it’s like in Cannes right now
After America Ferrera’s “dress invasion” at the Palais on Friday night, Dreamworks Animation and Fox enjoyed perfect timing for the after bash at Baoli Beach: sunset. On Monday, “Foxcatcher” will lay claim to the same space.
It gets dark later here, making the post-premire 9 p.m. sunset in to “selfie-time by the shore” the first thing that most people have been doing after negotiating entry and descending the steps to the beach. America Ferrera didn’t shy back from addressing the incident at the party, telling Vulture she felt “violated”.
DreamWorks ambassador Chip Sullivan was at the ropes as the night began, and soon after, Jay Baruchel and Djimon Honsou worked the room filled with dragon themed artwork. The party was officially billed as an art show and cocktail reception. Later in the night, Jeffrey Katzenberg would end up on a yacht. The early word on Cate Blanchett was that she had departed the festival right after the premiere. Update: She was rumored to still be in town on Saturday.
Meanwhile across the street from the #HTTYD2 festivities at the JW Marriott, singer Rita Ora proclaimed she was losing her Cannes virginity.
The British singer and Kardashian-family known associate rocked a four song set (and then a finale that she claimed to improvise, but yet had a guitar player spring up on stage) for Belvedere’s party. Charles Gibb, the president of the high end vodka brand, secured the most choice high-end nightlife real estate (literally “high”, on the roof) for the party that drew Rosario Dawson and Ora pal Theophilus London, no stranger to playing spirit-infused events himself.
The list and guests then flipped over to Albane Cleret’s “Le Club by Albane”, an annual tight-listed soiree space thrown by the Parisian PR chief. (“She keeps a list of 400 people and only adds 20 new people a year,” a Conde Nast media colleague based in Paris told me.) It did have a massive champagne bar arsenal that by the end of the night deteriorated as exasperated staff would only selectively fire the artillery only at those forking over euros in tips, something I have not seen since spring break in Cancun’ at “open bar nights” at Fat Tuesday.
That aside, the closest analog to the choice nightlife spot at the festival: Tao at Sundance, replete with the boss’s table where I would have expected to see Noah Tepperberg. On this night though, it was only people who I am sure turn up in glossy french tabloid Gala magazine, a productive brand that is miraculously turning out 50-page-plus books daily stuffed with last night’s premiere shots from all over town.
Art of Elysium: Creative Family Picnic
Earlier on Friday, Jennifer Howell’s Art of Elysium luncheon “Paradis” honoring Paz Vega provided a sanctuary from the noise, tucked away up in the hill at a place called Villa St. George. (The owner of the lush spread is apparently an event producer herself, and has carved this festival niche deep. She hosted Calvin Klein’s fete there a few years ago.)
Inside, a crowd of 40, mainly from L.A. but including daytripping supporters from Monaco, lunched on steak kabobs and couscous after Vega described her work with the artists and children’s charity.
“I just do my little thing, but you are the real heroes,” she told Powell and the crowd, understating that she had been in a children’s hospital volunteering in their arts program less than two weeks before Vegas’s “Grace of Monaco” opening night premiere.
“Where people get really confused with the organization is that we are first and foremost an artist’s charity,” Powell told TheWrap. “We honor someone who volunteers with us who has a project here too. We toast them for their philanthropy and their talent. The artists who support us actually go in and work with children.”
Past Cannes honorees include James Franco, Ahna O’Reilly, Kirsten Dunst. “We have a great family of artists,” Powell said. “There’s no lip service.”
The family at this picnic was a coffee table book of current creatives, including “Portlandia” and “Community” producer Karey Dornetto, Paradigm Talent Department head Andrew Ruf, TV director Jamie Babbit, Anthony James (the modern artist who famously torched his Ferrari to make a sculpture), Israeli Kim Kardashian-type Hofit Golan (who has been everywhere at the festival), “Lone Survivor” producer Lauren Selig, and a male Cartier. (The doorman loved this last name on the list.)
Shuttles avoided the need for Uber, but in case anyone is wondering, yes, Uber is here.
One rumor going around is “UberMoto,” where you can apparently bearhug a driver on the back of their motorcylce. I’ve yet to see it in the wild.
Inside the Weinstein “Upfront”
Happy hour on Friday brought the Weinstein company “upfront” at the Majestic hotel, where they screened footage from their upcoming 2014 slate.
Also Read Steve Pond’s Analysis: Dragons and Dramas: Jeffrey Katzenberg and Harvey Weinstein Put on Shows at Cannes
As TheWrap’s Steve Pond has the meat on the bone in this story, I’ll leave it to say that both COO David Glasser (who kicked off) and Harvey repeatedly stressed that everyone in the room was their “partners”, but separating the media from their actual producing partners, they both shined a lot of light on Worldview Entertainment partners Chris Woodrow and Molly Conners, mentioning them several times.
From my perspective, the Mark Ruffalo and Hailee Steinfeld comedy “Begin Again” (which broke out at TIFF under its maiden name “Can a Song Save Your Life?”) and Hugh Bonneville in “Paddington” got the strongest smiles in the room. Internally, it looks like they are lining up heavily behind Jessica Chastain’s passion project ‘The Disapperance of Eleanor Rigby”, with director Ned Benson being only director to take the stage at the presentation.
The room full of industry journalists barely touched the bars and food. Stories were out within minutes, probably before this post-event scrum around Harvey had dissipated.
Nicole Kidman and Lupita’s Do-Si-Do
Nicole Kidman and Lupita Nyong’o tag-teamed the first two nights in the spotlight in Cannes.
As Kidman took her place on the festival marquee as the face of opening night – waving atop the stairs of the Palais and undergoing a public dance inside the theatre (above left), Lupita Nyong’o got to hide. At the same time that “Grace of Monaco” was screening, Nyong’o was tucked in to a corner table at the vast but nearly empty beachfront restaurant L’Ecrin in Palm Beach, a few miles away from the Palais. Wearing glasses, she had a table for six.
One night later, a reversal. Nyong’o was one of the featured guests at Calvin Klein’s party, along with Rooney Mara, Naomi Watts, and Julianne Moore.
Meanwhile, Kidman got to be invisible, reportedly cruising on Ron Perelman’s yacht C2 (pronounced “C-Squared”) with Jonah Hill, and Harvey Weinstein.
M.C. Escher’s Festival Entry aka Climbing the Palais Stairs
At first glance, the stairs of the Palais are in my all time top three list “Things That Look Bigger on ‘Entourage’ “.
When I noted this on facebook, marketing and events executive Jordan Rothstein (partner in 360MEG) responded: “Say that when you’re waking up all those steps in a tux in 85 degrees three times a day”
He was right.
While it has not been beach weather here (low 70s at best), the optical illusion of the stairs reappeared when I took the bottom photo at the summit breathing heavy in my formal wear, rather than when I took the top one in sneakers without all the yelling, shouting, and French security telling you to “move-it-along, civilian.” It is a climb.
Based on my vast empirical study of one trip up the carpet so far, the mechanics of the Cannes arrivals are quirky and unique. They bring the talent in dead last, so they clear the carpet to get those entirely clean shots and sight lines.
Meanwhile, they simulcast the arrivals live on the screen inside, so you can follow the night’s stars making their way in. Steadicams track talent all the way from outside in to the theatre itself, the same way you get behind-the-scenes in the Lakers huddle outside their locker room before they take the floor at Staples. There’s even an announcer here and they play Black Eyed Peas and Aretha Franklin between premieres.
In one final parallel, I was surprised to find the majority of the seating in the Palais to be stadium style.
Beware the Fake Paparazzi
Real paparazzi litter the sidewalks, but a hybrid strain has evolved here: non-celebrity paparazzi.
Dressed in tuxedoes, they clog the sidewalks shooting anybody dressed remotely formal, to incite a scene and a crowd, and then quickly slide the subjects a business card with an unappetizing name on it (I got “VD Pictures”) to hustle the photos, just like they do at Disneyland or at ski resorts.
When a real celebrity walks the street, the fakies join in the fray, suffering the same delusion as the person at every Halloween party who goes too deep in to character. (“You’re not really a cop, buddy.”)
It’s not just the paparazzi. Everyone is in a tuxedo or formal wear. Not since visiting a particularly spirited prep school on a football gameday have I seen such uniformity in uniform. Eating ice cream cones, watching the carpet from across the street, or just walking around at night in anything less than black tie will relegate you to “spectateur” status.
Saturday night was packed with big ticket events: Some went by yacht to the Vanity Fair party at the du Cap, “The Hunger Games” had its bash, “Eleanor Rigby” in its new form made its Cannes debut, and my party partner Stella Artois took over the Martinez ballroom for the World Draught Masters competition, hosted by extra’s A.J. Calloway.
TheWrap’s Party Report from Cannes is appropriately presented by a festive partner, Stella Artois, the official beer of the Cannes Film Festival for 13 years.