Stars dazzle as Cannes kicks off

STARGAZERS already were catching sight of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars at the Cannes Film Festival well before Midnight in Paris, the Woody Allen romance that opened the glamorous event last night.

On hand to meet reporters and festival-goers earlier in the day were Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, along with director Allen and some of his cast, which includes Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Adrien Brody.

Capitalising on the horde of international press at Cannes, DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures brought in Banderas and Hayek for a photo event and interviews before the festival opened to promote their upcoming animated adventure Puss in Boots, a spin-off of the Shrek franchise.

Banderas and Hayek posed on a pier along the Mediterranean atop a giant pair of boots bearing the movie’s title and discussed the film after 15 minutes of footage was shown.

“Now we are in three dimensions... If Salma was beautiful in two dimensions, imagine her in three dimensions,” Banderas said, sizing her up through the 3-D glasses. “Look at this. She is amazing. You should see what I am seeing. It is unbelievable. Wow, Salma, you are like good wine. Time goes by, you get better, baby.”

Also outside of the festival proper, Black, Jolie and Hoffman came to Cannes for interviews on opening day, along with a news conference a day later, for their DreamWorks animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 2.

Allen’s romantic fantasy Midnight in Paris stars Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter and wannabe novelist who pines nostalgically for the 1920s Paris of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and F Scott Fitzgerald. On a series of midnight strolls, he’s transported back to the city in the time of his dreams, where he learns lessons from his idols about finding your place — and time — in life.

It was the first film shot in France by Allen.

“I wanted to show the city emotionally, the way I felt about it,” Allen said.

Midnight in Paris also features France’s first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who has a small role as a guide at the Rodin museum.

De Niro heads the jury that will award prizes among the 20 films in the Cannes main competition. Thurman and Law join him on the nine-member jury, which includes Argentine actress Martina Gusman, French filmmaker Olivier Assayas and Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To.

Other stars on hand before the festival closes May 22 include Brad Pitt and Sean Penn for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life; Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg for Lars von Trier’s Melancholia; Ryan Gosling for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive; and Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Online: http://www.festival-cannes.fr

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