CANNES - It goes without saying that Justin Timberlake's come a long way. I remember chatting with him and a very young Anton Yelchin at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival about Nick Cassavetes' underrated "Alpha Dog." Timberlake was prepping "FutureSex/LoveSounds" at the time and this was a pre-"Sexy Back" world, but Timberlake's enthusiasm for his Sundance debut was evident. It wasn't clear whether Timberlake enjoyed the art form of acting or whether he saw this as another outlet for his own work, but you could see even then this wasn't going to be a one time thing.
CANNES - Quick bit from the Croisette. The festival is still coming off a high following the rapturous premiere of the Coen Bros. "Inside Llewyn Davis" Sunday evening and, most likely, many members of the audience still have a song or two from the film's early '60s folk soundtrack stuck in their head.
CANNES - Sofia Coppola is a bit tired. As we sit down for one of her last interviews of the day it's clear she's lost a wee bit of enthusiasm to talk once again about the world of celebrity culture her characters in "The Bling Ring" are obsessed with. She succinctly notes, "You can't really look at US Weekly as in the same way after making this movie."
CANNES - Lionsgate tried to bring a taste of the "Hunger Games" to Cannes Saturday night with a Capitol City party on the Croisette in honor of the upcoming sequel "Catching Fire." After grossing $400 million in the U.S. you might wonder why the studio would shell out big bucks to trek stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and new cast member Sam Clafin to the south of France for one day of red carpets and a swank beachfront party. This wasn't about America, though, this was about the world.
CANNES - After making her feature film debut with 2010's "Belle Epine," director Rebecca Zlotowski returns to Cannes with the compelling new drama "Grand Central." While Zlotowski benefits from the presence of a number of critically acclaimed French actors this is the sort sophomore jump that will cement her status as one to watch within the global filmmaking community.
CANNES - Harvey Weinstein took center stage Friday evening as The Weinstein Company held what has become a semi-annual preview of the rest of their yearly slate for select members of the domestic and international press corps at Cannes. In the past Weinstein has used this event to tease expected players such as "Nine" and "My Week with Marilyn." Last year, however, the event created a tremendous amount of buzz after a surprise 10-minute-plus first look at "Django Unchained" as well as sneaks of Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" and David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook."
This time around, "Grace of Monaco," featuring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, "August: Osage County," starring Meryl Streep and an all-star cast and "Mandela: A Long Road to Freedom," starring Idris Elba as the legendary South African civil rights leader, were the more anticipated sneaks. And yet it was "Only God Forgives" star Kristin Scott Thomas who unexpectedly stole the show. More on that later. First let's get to the awards season players.
CANNES - Director Francois Ozon has made a career of exploring sexuality and sexual awakenings on the big screen, but his latest, "Jeune & Jolie" (Young and Beautiful), sadly falls short of his previous efforts.
Don't hate me cause I'm going to Cannes. This is work people. Seriously, hard, hard work.
In the south of France.
The first trailer for Lee Daniels' "The Butler" arrived Tuesday and it's a little all over the place while trying to make one thing clear: this movie has lots of familiar faces.
The biopic centers on Eugene Allen, a real butler who served in the White House for over 34 years until he retired during President Reagan's second term. Allen worked under seven presidents and witnessed some of the darkest days in Presidential history up close and personal. The film was independently financed, but picked up for domestic distribution by the Weinstein Company and because of its pedigree has to be considered a conversation starter for the upcoming awards season. Why might you ask? Well, "The Butler" has an all-star cast of former Oscar winners and nominees including Forest Whitaker as Allen, Oprah Winfrey as his wife Gloria, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Robin Williams and Vanessa Redgrave. The ensemble also includes Alan Rickman, Live Schreiber, John Cusack, Alex Pettyfer, James Marsden, Jesse Williams and Mariah Carey. The script is by Emmy-winner Danny Strong ("Game Change") and is Daniel's follow up to the controversial "Paperboy." Yep, that's first class Oscar bait people.