Harvey Weinstein took advantage of Cannes' many attendees to gather some of them together in order to tease TWC's upcoming films and get a head start on the next round of Awards season. That has been the modus operandi of The Weinstein in recent years, which had held more intimate affairs at swanky flats off the Croisette and today opted for a make-shift screening room (after obligatory cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in an adjoining room).
"The last four years have been amazing with movies like 'The King's Speech,' 'Django Unchained,' 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'The Artist' -- we've reached new heights," said Harvey Weinstein, squeezed into a dapper tux. "Last year was as good as any year at Miramax. Our international business keeps building as well."
With a packed room of about a couple hundred press, festival programmers and special guests, Weinstein thanked his staff and introduced Cannes juror Nicole Kidman. But the timing was off a tad and she wasn't ready, which prompted him to joke that he was going to "fire all the people on staff I just thanked."
To fill in the gap, Weinstein talked about Shane Salerno's literary biodoc "Salinger," which was one of 11 trailers and clips TWC displayed Friday evening. "This will be the first footage anyone has seen [of Salinger] in the world," he said.
And then nearly on cue, Kidman arrived to plug her upcoming "Grace of Monaco." Set in 1962, the film revolves around a showdown between the French government and its maverick leader, Charles de Gaulle, and the tiny principality wedged between the Mediterranean and its large neighbor France. De Gaulle had blockaded Monaco over a festering tax issue.
Said Weinstein: "This is the seventh movie in which I've worked with Nicole Kidman, including 'The Hours,' for which she won the Oscar."
"This is almost two decades in which I've been able to work with Harvey and I'm so glad he decided 'Grace' is for him," said Kidman. "I spent a good portion of last year working in this area and got to know Grace well. I researched her and fell in love with her and I got to work with a French crew, including [director] Olivier Dahan who I adore…We'll get to see the movie at some stage, but not today."
As Kidman exited the room, Weinstein again turned the joke on himself, asking which of his movies she'd give him the Palme d'Or for, as laughter filled the room.
The order of trailers spotlighted at Friday's event included:
"The Butler" by Lee Daniels (October 18)
"Ain't Them Bodies Saints" by David Lowery (TWC has international rights)
"August: Osage County" by John Wells (November 8)
"Salinger" by Shane Salerno (September 6)
"The Immigrant" by James Gray (undated, Cannes competition)
"Grace of Monaco" by Olivier Dahan (December 27)
"Only God Forgives" by Nicolas Winding Refn (Radius-TWC, July 19, Cannes competition)
"The Grandmaster" by Wong Kar-wai (August 23)
"One Chance" by David Frankel (undated)
"Fruitvale Station" by Ryan Coogler (July 12, Un Certain Regard)
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" by Justin Chadwick (November 29)
At the end of the event, Weinstein gave a shout out to indies generally saying that "it's not just about us, but all independent movies," and expressed his hope that European films in particular would maintain their government funding mechanisms which has allowed movies from the continent to distinguish themselves.
"We can't let Europe go to be the same as the United States. What's great about European movies is that they're different. As long as they reflect their culture there will always be movies like "Amour," which we didn't release, but it was brilliant last year…."