A French actor gets a tribute, Gandalf gets a shave, and Sarah Palin comes to the defense of tax credits for Hollywood.
French actor and New Wave icon Jean-Paul Belmondo, meanwhile, will be honored at this year's Cannes Film Festival with a gala celebration on May 17. And the festival's Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux have already thrown down the gauntlet should any current actors feel like skipping the tribute. After saluting "his range and personal charisma, the precision of his acting, his cocky wit" and "the ease with which he carries himself," they add, "No doubt the entire panoply of French actors … will want to walk up that Cannes staircase to celebrate 'Bebel' to the sound of the rapturous applause of his diehard fans." Beat that, Norman Jewison backers. Anne Thompson has pix and videos. (Thompson on Hollywood)
From the set of "The Hobbit," Ian McKellen blogs a big moment: his transformation into Gandalf the Grey, the wizard he played in the three "Lord of the Rings" movies almost a decade ago. He documents the shaving of his real beard so he can don a fake beard, the application of a new false nose (smaller than the old false nose, at his request) and the donning of "Gandy's clothes" for the first time. "It's like old times," says McKellen, a wry and amusing blogger who documents the shave with photos. (Ian McKellen.com)
Stop the presses: Sarah Palin agrees with all those Hollywood liberals about something. The something, in this case, is a state tax credit and incentive program for filmmakers, this one in her home state of Alaska; the program offers a 30 percent credit on production money spent in the state, and reportedly delivered $1.2 million in tax credits to the TLC reality program "Sarah Palin's Alaska." State tax credits for filmmaking have drawn fire from conservatives and limited-government advocates, but Palin's all in favor: her statement on the program reads, in part, "I’ve said many times that government can play an appropriate role in incentivizing business, creating infrastructure, and leveling the playing field to foster competition so the market picks winners and losers, instead of bureaucrats burdening businesses and picking winners and losers." Scott Macaulay sums up the issue and Palin's stance; The Daily Caller has her statement in full, though she blasted that conservative outlet for only running excerpts on the first page of their story, and "burying" her full statement after the jump. (Filmmaker Magazine)
The state that became emblematic of film production tax credits is Michigan, not Alaska – but, says Anthony Kaufman, those credits "appear to have been too good to be true." New governor Rick Synder has proposed putting an annual $25 million cap on the 42 percent credit, which has caused a cutback in production even though the legislature won't address the issue until the summer. One film, he says, will receive a credit for the first three months of 2011; by contrast, the same period last year saw nine productions benefit. (indieWIRE)