Baron Cohen gives Cannes the hump

Cannes got the hump with Sacha Baron Cohen yesterday as the funnyman staged his latest stunt to promote his new comedy film, The Dictator.

The comedian held a press conference outside his hotel, where he was flanked by two women dressed as soldiers.

A camel was led to him, which he mounted and rode down the famous Croisette to apparently take in some shopping. As he slowly made his way down the street, Baron Cohen was mobbed by dozens of photographers, bringing traffic to a halt and drawing the attention of police.

After a short stroll, Baron Cohen turned around and returned to the hotel.

The stunt came on the opening day of the annual French movie extravaganza.

Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom opened the 65th festival with its premiere, and the director, with actors Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Bill Murray made their way down Cannes’ grand red carpet last night.

Meanwhile, Trainspotting actor Ewan McGregor said yesterday he has done no preparation for his role as one of the jurors who will decide who takes home the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

The actor is one of a nine-strong panel responsible for judging the films and awarding the Palme d’Or prize this year.

He told a press conference: “I looked through the prog yesterday when I arrived and had unpacked all my suits.

“I lay on the bed and had a look and went ‘Fucking hell, there’s some good stuff in here’.

But apart from that, I haven’t swotted up on anything.”

McGregor joins actress Diane Kruger and fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier on the jury at the festival, which runs to May 27.

The group also includes Wuthering Heights director Andrea Arnold and is headed by Italian director and actor Nanni Moretti.

US filmmaker Alexander Payne, whose films include Election and Sideways, is also on the jury.

McGregor said it was an “enormous honour” to be part of the panel and he did not feel his position judging his peers was a superior one.

“I don’t feel like I’m in some position of great power. There’s no feelings of revenge in this. It’s just a celebration of film.”

Films in the running for the prestigious prize include David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Walter Salles’s adaptation of the Beat Generation novel On The Road.

A short film by a screenwriter from Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, will be shown at the opening day of the Cannes Artisan Film Festival today.

Sean Ryan explained how his fortunes changed in recent years. “I was working in IT but lost my job in 2010 because of the global downturn. Now I stay home and take care of the children. This has its advantages and it gives me more time to write.”

Sean is hoping to get to Cannes in time to see his film on the big screen. “The actor and producer are flying over from LA. I am hoping to go so fingers crossed I’ll get there.”

The film, Choices, is a dark tale of loss, mental illness and revenge that follows the tragic life of Ian Chance, played by Gene Loveland.

Ian is a shattered man trying to come to terms with the loss of his daughter, who was killed by a drunk driver. Ian makes a choice to turn his grief into revenge and seek out the man who took his daughter from him.

But everything is not as it seems, as the layers of the story are peeled back to reveal multiple twists in the tale and the truth behind the tragedy.

Sean made contact with Loveland in Los Angeles which led to them working together on the film with producer Gabriel Schmidt and director/actor, Michael Kirkland.

Funds were raised on the filmmaking community website Kickstarter.com and the film was shot on location in Los Angeles. The film has been selected for several other film festivals.

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