Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Cannes Opener: “Gatsby” Gets a Tepid Response at Premiere


“The Great Gatsby” didn’t have such a great response at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. The opening film, directed by Baz Luhrmann, was met with silence at its morning press screening- literally no applause. Some of the audience even left early and missed the main closing credits.

The situation was no better on Wednesday night. The black tie red carpet audience was filled with celebrities from Julianne Moore to Sacha Baron Cohen, husband of Isla Fisher, who plays Myrtle in the movie. There was what some called “muted response,” “polite applause,” and a basically tepid response. Nowhere to be found were the customary ten minute standing ovation, whistles, shouts of “Bravo!” and the like. There was no foot stomping.

At the rain-drenched but still swanky dinner thrown by the Festival for the movie and the new jury, answers to the question “How did you like it?” were met with cautious responses. One juror, a celebrity, simply said, “I’m glad it wasn’t in competition.” A Paris TV talk show host said, directly,  “I hated it.”

Otherwise, the dinner turned out to be a lot of fun—even though outside torrential rains caused expensive gowns to be water logged and high heels to be toppled. Trains—the ones that follow gowns—were not running on time.

Nicole Kidman was smart and didn’t have one. She looked like a million bucks in a billowy gown. Kidman told me she was eagerly awaiting the arrival of husband Keith Urban on Friday, right after he finishes up “American Idol.”  She acknowledged that Urban, like the other judges, are not returning.

“I don’t know what they want,” she said of the Idol producers. “I liked Keith on the show and I watched it. I thought it was great.”

Juror Ang Lee told me about his upcoming FX channel pilot called Tyranny. He’s directing it, and “Tyranny” is written the creators of “Homeland.” Ang said “It’s modern day, and set in a Syria-like country.” But he added: “Make no mistake it is not Syria.”

Other guests at the dinner included Tobey Maguire, who stars in “Gatsby” and is now also producing two upcoming films. Jury chief Steven Spielberg brought wife Kate Capshaw and two of their kids. Leonardo DiCaprio had his father and step mother as guests, but they were seated at a table far away from him. His actual dates were huge bodyguards, the size of Viking ranges.

Meanwhile, over at the post-dinner party thrown by Warner  Bros for “Gatsby”—again in monsoon rains—so many name guests were denied entry to the VIP area that there was a mass exodus after Florence (of the Machine) sang one song on the stage. Very amusing was watching Warner  party chiefs and French speaking body guards making director Lynne Ramsay, a Cannes juror who’d just been on the main stage, cool her heels.

“She’s a juror,”  at least ten people yelled only to receive blank stares. The other jurors were smart enough to have gone home directly from the dinner. It was a crappy end to an otherwise elegant night.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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