After the red carpet and the wall of paparazzi, after the screaming crowds and the ocean of limousines, after the lights have gone down and come back up, after dinner is served and cleared and the high heels are held in one hand – after that, they’re all at the bar of the Hotel du Cap.
It’s after midnight on Saturday, and the fourth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” has premiered at the festival in Cannes. The moguls and stars gather a dozen miles down the coast at the famous Hotel du Cap. Producer Graham King stands grandly, drink in hand, to greet Johnny Depp in the lobby as the star triumphantly enters.
They smile and hug. Depp is ever the movie god, mysterious and beautiful. I remind him that we met for an interview when he was just starting out, when he gave the distinct impression that he could walk away from Hollywood at any moment.
“I still could,” he said with a grin.
King added: “Me too.”
Depp is leaving to London in a day to start shooting King’s next movie, “Dark Shadows,” directed by Tim Burton.
But first: Pirates!
“We got a standing ovation,” beams producer Jerry Bruckheimer (he actually tweeted this news), as Disney Studios chief Rich Ross wanders in a happy daze, his tie undone, his tuxedo askew (on his first Cannes tour, we wonder?). This is not insignificant; Cannes crowds are notorious for their brutal candor. A few years ago they booed the “Da Vinci Code.”
In the corner huddles the two-fisted punch of Hollywood gossip – Roger Friedman with publicist Peggy Siegal.
Bellinis all around. Harvey Weinstein is slapping backs as Antonio Banderas and a very-skinny Melanie Griffith find a table among the velvet suits and strapless gowns. UTA is present in force with Jim Berkus, Tracey Jacobs, Jeremy Barber, Theresa Peters talking shop. (Where is CAA, we wonder? Oh that's right, they're all just outside the walls of the Cap at their own blow-out shindig.)
After 2 a.m., a posse of young Hollywood princes comes wandering through the front door, just getting started: directors Jake Paltrow (yes, brother of Gwynnie) and Max Winkler (yes, son of Henry and director of “Ceremony”) with producer Luke Silver-Greenberg.
I’m told they’re staying on a yacht. That’s the big yacht parked down at the edge of the water. No, not that tanker-sized yacht, that would belong to oligarch Roman Abramovich. Lord knows why he’s at the Cannes festival.
Spike Jonze fends off admirers at the bar. Spike! Jonze! He has a slight beard.
Winkler, who wears that Wes Andersonish look of short trousers, corduroy and Keds, tells Jonze that he is often mistaken for him. In fact, he recounts an amazing story in which he met Dustin Hoffman and talked movie projects with him for 45 minutes. The entire time Hoffman thought he was talking to Anderson. Oh well.
Jonze finds this hilarious and admits that he is sometimes mistaken for Wes Anderson. When someone tells him how much they enjoyed “The Royal Tenenbaums,” Jonze just smiles and says ‘thanks.’
It turns out that Jonze had a short in the festival that screened Saturday night, under the ‘Pirates’ radar. It’s a stop-motion piece, and Jonze’s name is nowhere to be found in the festival catalogue. How very like him.
More Bellinis. Talk of ‘How long are you staying?’and ‘How is your hotel?’ and this is the moment when the movie business is cooler than anything in the world.
It’s 3 a.m. before they turn on the lights and send everyone home.