Cannes 2010 met a unique problem: A volcano erupted and disrupted flights to the nearby Nice airport. Iceland’s 5,400-foot Eyjaffallajökull volcano decided that the weeks before the fest’s May 10 opening would be a good time to let loose. Flights were either canceled (pulverized rock dust wreaks havoc on jet engines) or diverted. A flight from New York to Nice took 10 hours instead of seven. However, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, with attending stars Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Léa Seydoux — who stars this year in Arnaud Desplechin’s competition crime drama Oh Mercy! — was still able to open the 63rd festival.
Scott’s experience with the Cannes red carpet goes back to The Duellists, awarded the prize for best debut film in 1977, and Thelma & Louise, which closed the 1991 edition. But in 2010, the director didn’t take the stroll to the Palais des Festivals for Robin Hood’s out-of-competition world premiere: He had knee surgery and skipped the event. In his absence, Crowe did most of the talking about the Universal release. And though Seydoux would have a relatively quiet year at Cannes, she’d return three years later with the lesbian drama Blue Is the Warmest Color, which won the Palme d’Or. Epic as Robin Hood might have been, the box office results weren’t: The $200 million production brought in $322 million worldwide.
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter‘s May 16 daily issue at the Cannes Film Festival.