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Cannes Opener 'Grace of Monaco,' Starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, May Seek New Stateside Distributor

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by Anne Thompson
April 28, 2014 3:02 PM
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Nicole Kidman in 'Grace of Monaco'

Well, it looks like Harvey Weinstein hasn't worked his Oscar wiles on filmmaker Olivier Dahan, who directed Marion Cotillard to an Oscar in "La Vie en Rose." The American distributor had wanted to craft another Oscar contender. But the French director likes his own final cut--which is opening the Cannes Film Festival on May 14. If TWC drops the release, the producers of the Nicole Kidman biopic, Arash Amel and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, may be in search of a new stateside distributor. It is not mentioned in any of Weinstein's advance Cannes email pitches so far. 

There's two ways to look at this. Weinstein knows what it takes to craft a movie that will play for the Hollywood Foreign Press --a small group that votes for the Golden Globes--as well as 6000 Academy voters. (Kidman has nabbed eight Golden Globes nominations against three Oscar nods.) This situation brooks comparison with Simon Curtis's 2011 "My Week with Marilyn," which Weinstein reshaped with additional dance numbers featuring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, shifting the focus from a memoir about a young production assistant besotted with the Hollywood star to a movie more centered on her dramatic emotional problems. Sure enough, Globe and Oscar nominations followed.

But did the movie turn out better? Was it the best film that it could be? With $14 million domestic, clearly Harvey pushed it to some success as an awards contender. But how much did he spend to get there? 

The Weinstein Company has taken "Grace of Monaco" off their release calendar -- it was originally supposed to hit theaters last November, but was pulled in favor of a March release as Dahan tussled with Weinstein over the final edit. “It’s right to struggle, but when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, not to name names, there is not much you can do,” Dahan told Liberation. “Either you say ‘Go figure it out with your pile of shit’ or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn’t as violent.” But that date was pulled with the news that the film would open the 67th Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2014. Overseas distributors including France's Gaumont plan to roll out the film following Cannes. 

According to Variety, Weinstein wanted more Hollywood background on Oscar-winning American movie star Grace Kelly who became Princess Grace of Monaco, when she married Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth) in 1956, as well as more political context about France and its principality. Kelly was at the top of studio wish-lists, working with John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and Fred Zinnemann among others. Six years later, as she finally had figured out how to nail her princess role, Hitchcock invited her back to Hollywood to star in his new film "Marnie." (Another ice blonde, Tippi Hedron, took the part.)

Weinstein had a friendly involvement with variously edited versions of Wong Kar-wai's "The Grandmaster" and David Lowery's "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," staying collaborative with the filmmakers. On the other hand, South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho also wrangled with Weinstein over the upcoming “Snowpiercer,” which played Berlin in February. Bong will finally open his director's cut on June 27. 

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