“Harvey was off his game,” observed one attendee at the latest Cannes presentation from The Weinstein Co. It’s a Cannes tradition to unveil the latest movies that weren’t ready for Cannes at the Majestic. One TWC upcoming release was conspicuously missing: Olivier Dahan‘s “Grace of Monaco,” starring Nicole Kidman, which was scheduled as the opening night film without Harvey’s blessing.
Weinstein, who closed a deal to release the movie right before Cannes at a reduced fee, talked to reporters after the event at the Majestic Hotel, saying that he and Dahan will work together on a new cut–a release date is not yet set–and that he couldn’t have asked for more publicity on the movie. He made a point that the writer-producer Arash Amel and star Kidman deserved credit for their hard work. And he feels strongly that there’s a way to cut the movie–he said he hasn’t seen the Cannes cut, as he was in Jordan with his wife Georgina Chapman visiting a refugee camp that may become fodder for a documentary–that will placate the Monaco’s royal family, the Grimaldis, who right now are not pleased. Weinstein said he had nothing to do with putting together the Quentin Tarantino Cannes closing night tribute to Sergio Leone‘s “A Fistful of Dollars,” but said it would be in 35 mm.
But on to the new slate. The notable news here is that while the footage reveals some commercial potential, especially Dimension‘s long-awaited “Sin City” sequel “A Dame to Kill For,” starring a hot ensemble led by Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba and Joseph Gordon-Levitt under the direction of Robert Rodriguez–Green exited the Majestic before her scheduled appearance–and Christmas release “Paddington,” a live-action/animation hybrid based on the children’s classic, it looks like Harvey Weinstein may be able to relax during Oscar season.
The other movie at Cannes is Saturday Un Certain Regard entry “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” which director Ned Benson has, since showing the work-in-progress in Toronto, edited into one film for Cannes, hanging on to the he said/she said structure of the original, with two POVs on a romance gone wrong: Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy are the young lovers, with William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert as her parents and Ciaran Hinds as his father. Benson has committed to writing and possibly directing another TWC film.
COO David Glasser introduced Weinstein partners Worldview, Ron Burkle, Miramax and future Chinese cinema partner Dalian Wanda Group, represented by former Academy president Hawk Koch, who announced ex-Film Society of Lincoln Center executive director Rose Kuo as the new CEO of the Qingdao International Film Festival, designed to form a “bridge between western and eastern cultures,” said Koch. Wanda has also hired ex-Turner Broadcasting exec Stephen Mensch as CEO of its Oriental Movie Industrial Park in Qingdao, “expected to be on of the biggest in the world,” said Koch. Both are set to launch in 2017. “Expect many co-productions with the Weinstein Co. soon,” promised Koch.