BRANGELINA: NOT PREGNANT, BUT PROUD
The biggest question on the Croisette last night’other than Will Quentin Tarantino please cut ten minutes out of his movie?’was: Is Angelina Jolie pregnant? (This was followed closely by: Have she and Brad Pitt been separated?)
First, the answer to the more important of these questions: Quentin Tarantino should cut at least ten minutes from his two and a half hour self-proclaimed masterpiece, ‘Inglourious Basterds.’ The cuts are not so much about the length, because with Tarantino you can watch and watch hypnotically. It’s all about edits to make the film ‘ a fantasy in which the Jews rage against Hitler and his associates, finally killing them’more about Pitt’s band of Basterds including Eli Roth and Michael Fassbender‘and a little less about French actress Melanie Laurent‘s story line concerning the blowing up of a Paris cinema.
But Brad and Angie: she is not pregnant, they are very happy, she is proud of him. He is proud to have evolved into a character actor, and a very deft comedian.
‘It’s so much easier,’ he told me, ‘and satisfying.’ This conversation took place after the wildly successful premiere screening of ‘Basterds’ at the Palais, the craziest night on the red carpet since last year’s screening of ‘Changeling’ with Brad, Jolie, and director Clint Eastwood. The red carpet was already buzzing with the annual arrival of Sharon Stone, as well as many French celebrities and the jury. So many gowns, so little time!
And then Tarantino and Melanie Laurent hit the runway and performed a crazy ‘Pulp Fiction’ inspired jitterbug to Ennio Morricone instrumental spaghetti western music, and the place just went, well, nuts. Inside the Palais, hundreds of seated guests clapped watching the whole pas de deux on the giant video screen. Laurent, who’s 26, wore a white pants suit (she changed later into a hot little dress). No question about it: she’s a find. She’s what Sienna Miller wants to be, the serious little blonde actress.
Tarantino was greeted inside the theatre by thunderous applause and a long standing ovation before ‘IB’ even started playing. It took quite a while to get everyone calmed down and seated. Then, the two and a half hour movie that is often brilliant, sometimes inspires you to mutter ‘cut’ during long scenes, and then ends with several bangs. A ten minute standing ovation followed, with everyone in the cast and the folks from Universal and the Weinstein Company weeping and high fiving.
But in realite: ‘Inglorious Basterds’ could use a little snipping, not the self mutilation of Lars von Trier’s ‘Anti-Christ.’ But the steady hand of an AVID operator wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
And then the party, at a Beach club across from what used to be called the Noga Hilton, a huge white sixties type building of such fascinating ugliness that if it were in Manhattan the Landmarks Commission might to start to argue for its preservation. However, it is now called the Princess Stephanie after an 80s disco chrome and smoked glass makeover.
The wine and Champagne flowed, the hors d’oeuvres were in less attendance than needed, but the deejay was sensational. The result was the party of the festival so far, a real St. Tropez style celebration that mixed celebrities through a room of guests dressed in black tie and gowns, along with the scantily clad women of the Cannes night who somehow make into these things, ‘haven’t seen the movie yet,’ and are maybe unaware that a film festival is taking place somewhere in town.
The sprawling ‘Basterds’ cast took positions everywhere, from Brad and Angelina to Mike Myers (he’s a surreal kind of wax figure British aristocrat war secretary during one of Tarantino’s digressions) to young Eli Roth–who fancies himself a modern Louie B. Mayer-slash-Roger Corman, B.J. Novak of ‘The Office’ fame, Diane Kruger with boyfriend Joshua Jackson (ex of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ now the star of the cult hit ‘Fringe’ on TV). Laurent, and German actor Christoph Waltz who steals ‘Inglorious Basterds’ as the antagonist Nazi Colonel Landa the way Ralph Fiennes did fifteen years ago in ‘Schindler’s List.’
And here’s the thing about Christoph Waltz‘s Landa: you love him, but you hate him. Tarantino makes a point in ‘Inglourious Basterds’ that Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie didn’t get in ‘Valkyrie’: there are no good Nazis. Landa is almost a send up of Tom Cruise’s von Stauffenberg, who wanted to kill Hitler but failed miserably. Landa’s trajectory from zealot to sell out is the most fascinating part of ‘Basterds,’ other than Brad Pitt’s hilarious, trance state impersonation of a deep South military man overreaching his position. (Watch for Pitt as he nails it in a Marx Brothers moment in Armani formal wear. It’s lovely.)
Wait! You don’t care about any of this. All you want to know is that at the party, Brad and Angie were seated in a corner behind a velvet rope, as if they were the furniture you’re not supposed to sit on in a historical home. Angie remained on a divan, smiling and chatting cautiously. She has a look on her face of a royal Cheshire cat. She was simply tolerating everyone to be supportive of Brad. Her cartoon Thought Balloon just reads: ‘Sigh.’
Brad, on the other hand, is gregarious and polite. He comes forward to shake hands as he recognizes people from the real world. When the idiot French bulldozers of security attempt to repel oncomers, Brad’in black tie’makes a small, suggestive royal wave that indicates, That’s okay, this person is not here to accost me, they’re alright.
He has to sort of kneel with one knee as he shakes your hand because there’s another divan set up as a barricade just behind the velvet rope and you are not coming in. He is coming to you. Angie is in the background, nodding to a stranger who’s probably telling her in French, Italian, or German how much they loved ‘Tomb Raider.’ Her cartoon balloon is fully inflated.
Brad is beaming. ‘I love QT, he’s quite a man,’ he says of Tarantino. ‘Now I’ve done him and the Coen brothers.’ The biggest male sex symbol movie star in the world has become Zany. He loves it. ‘It’s QT. He just knows everything about film, more than we’ll ever know. He’s an encyclopedia.’
But he’s been away from Angie for too long. On the red carpet, Pitt would wander away from her for a nanosecond, then return quickly and grab her hand. And now he’s doing the same thing. She’s not pregnant, they’re not separating, the tabloids are disappointed. But he’s retreated from the rope, and he’s back where he belongs, by her side.
PENLOPE ISN’T PREGNANT EITHER; MIKE MYERS SOFT HEART FOR SOFT CORE
In the end,’ Oscar winner Penelope Cruz– not pregnant but suffering from stomach flu and on antibiotics– did a day of press on Wednesday for ‘Broken Embraces,’ but cancelled today’s interviews. She made her way back to Madrid where she can have the Spanish equivalent of tea and toast (which might be tea and toast). She has to rest up for ‘Nine’ this fall, after all’
‘Mike Myers also looked a little green during all the ‘Basterds’ commotion. That’s because he literally jetted in to Cannes for a 48 hour press wave, and will leave again shortly. Through the ‘Basterds’ press conference, on the red carpet, and again at the party, Myers appeared discomfited. He did have with him his very cute and personable girlfriend, Kelly, who runs a vegan restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side with Moby, the electropop musical star. She told me they’ve been together for three years.
So what’s Mike up to? ‘I’m remaking the movie ‘Emmanuelle’,‘ he said, with a straight face. ‘We’re taking footage from the film and cutting in new footage. There’s a press conference tomorrow at 4pm to announce it.’ Who’s financing this unusual effort? A studio? ‘Canal Plus right now. But MGM I think in the future.’ And the rights to ‘Emmanuelle’? ‘It’s taken care of,’ he said. ‘We’ve got it.’