Penelope Cruz missed the Weinstein Company’s presentation of footage from the musical ‘Nine’ yesterday. Instead, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard filled in for her at the modest offices TWC rents each year off the Croisette. About 100 people showed up to see what we’ve all been wondering about: footage from Rob Marshall’s shoot.

And no one can say they were disappointed: ‘Nine’ looks simply amazing. Today a new trailer goes up on the Internet. We were shown that as well as a featurette made up for the occasion of other scenes, backstage stuff, a little bit inside and backstage from the movie musical.

One thing’s for sure: the women of ‘Nine’ are going to be a formidable group come November. The footage is exciting and sexy, a little reminiscent of Marshall’s Oscar-winning ‘Chicago’ and then different enough stylistically to suggest that ‘Nine’ may be explosive.

Interestingly, while Cruz, Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, and the others ‘ as well as Daniel Day-Lewis‘commanded attention in these clips, none other than Dame Judi Dench looked like she will have an integral role in the final cut.


In Cannes, Christmas comes just twice a year: in December, but first in May when Disney takes over the Croisette in front of the Carlton Hotel, plops down a Christmas tree, and snows on everything until even in 80 degree heat the Cote d’Azur is a winter wonderland.

That’s what happened yesterday when, in an old-fashioned publicity stunt, the Mouse House launched its promotion for ‘A Christmas Carol’ directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Both Carrey and co-stars Colin Firth and Robin Wright Penn arrived in motorized old-fashioned carriages while snow machines blew white snow powder flakes in large tufts around them and over their heads. It was a brave effort to try and enliven an otherwise depressing year in Cannes devoid of much fluff or chicanery costing more than fifty cents.

Inside the Carlton it was a matter of waiting a bit as the main ballroom filled up. Then a few scenes from ‘A Christmas Carol,’ which is made in stop-capture animation, were revealed on a large screen.

It’s hard to judge the film based on the edited presentation, but my first thought ‘ especially from the movie’s poster’is that the animators may have based their concept on the hideous commercial art of Thomas Kinkade. God bless everyone of us including Tiny Tim if this is the case because, in addition to that, the animation and music spelled ‘very scary’ for a story that’s supposed to charm small children.

Zemeckis has filmed ‘ACC’ in 3D. For the second time in a week the audience was photographed in advance wearing uncomfortable sunglasses with red and blue lenses. Last week, Disney/Pixar’s ‘Up’ was shown in 3D as well. ‘ACC’ is from a new Disney animation venture that’s just been formed in Northern California with Zemeckis designed to remake old Disney movies this way. What’s next? Probably the return of Quadrophonic sound.


Paul Allen isn’t green in so many ways. The Microsoft billionaire has lost lots of money. He also runs several yachts including the 413-foot Octopus, one of the biggest boats in the world.

Allen has a home ‘ an estate ‘ near Cannes, so every year he has a big party on the Octopus for Eurotrash. This year was no exception since Allen doesn’t know from recession. Down at the Cannes port, dozens of scantily clad blondes piled up to be checked in and taken to the Octopus by shuttle boats. More ways by which Allen burned up fuel unnecessarily, and turned the Mediterranean into a gas station.

Unfortunately this year there aren’t so many celebs in Cannes to make such a party remarkable. And last night they were spread thin. Penelope Cruz, sick from food poisoning, made a quick appearance at the Hollywood Domino party for GlobalGreen, then went home to prepare for her big day today premiering in Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Broken Embraces.’

That left the usual suspects of the last few days: Ubiquitous Movie Star Paris Hilton, who told guests she was ‘about to sell a movie,’ plus Quentin Tarantino, Tilda Swinton, Brigitte Lacombe, Mick Jagger, Colin Firth, to mix in with the hoi polloi–or should I say, Oy polloi? Paparazzi stood on the dock, praying for a big name to show up. Sure enough, the appearance of Robert Pattinson, the Luke Perry of 2009, did the trick. There was such a frenzy following in Patty’s wake that the photogs knocked over a huge planter onto the sidewalk, along with a stanchion.

On the positive side, I’m told Allen, an awkward social presence at best. was not there. This meant no performance by the tone deaf billionaire rock star and his pick-up band of musicians who cover him. That must have been some relief to those present.

Still, it was nice of Allen to share what’s left of his funds with young strangers in high heels and too short dresses. Forbes recently dropped from No. 19 to No. 32 on their list of top billionaires. They say he’s lost 36% of his wealth in the last year. He’s down to his last $10.5 billion. Yikes! Time to start clipping coupons.


I couldn’t end today’s column without bidding farewell to a great friend and an institution in Hollywood, Lee Solters. The famed PR man was 89. Lee’s history in the business covers everyone from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson. He was publicist for the latter in the ‘Thriller’ era right through Jackson’s embarrassing times in the ’90s with the Chandler investigation, hyperbaric chambers and Elephant Man bones. Lee was one of the Hollywood good guys, with a heart of gold and a tremendous sense of humor. I will miss him. He won’t be forgotten.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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