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The choreographed dance that normally takes place on the festival’s opening night red carpet should make for good viewing, as the contentious war of words between Grace of Monaco director Olivier Dahan and U.S. distributor Harvey Weinstein heats up.
Dahan, producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, writer Arash Amel and the cast including Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth are confirmed to attend, but Weinstein, who wants to release a separate cut in the U.S., will be a notable no-show. Amel, who has excused himself from a large amount of the publicity events including the press conference scheduled for May 14, tells THR he doesn’t want his “big first Cannes moment” undermined by the controversy surrounding the dueling cuts.
“A film is a set of interpretations of the writing, and in this film, it is an issue of cultural interpretation,” Amel says. The writer, who landed in Cannes on May?13, says he is looking forward to taking his place on the red carpet.
According to multiple sources, an email circulated May 12 notifying the French team that Weinstein, who snapped up U.S. rights last year when the $30 million project still had the support of the Monaco royals, would skip the premiere due to “an unspecified scheduling?conflict.” But industry observers note that he is known for last-minute red-carpet appearances, and some speculate that Weinstein will walk the steps of the Palais in a show of support for festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux.
Speculation is rife that Weinstein’s maneuvering is part of a power play to give him leverage to slice $2?million off his original $5 million deal with Indian financier Yash Raj Films after what he expects to be harsh reviews come in for Dahan’s version.
Though Weinstein and Le Pogam had agreed that different U.S. and French versions would be released, in recent weeks TWC has been trying to renegotiate its U.S. distribution deal by threatening to release the film directly to TV or to shelve it altogether. CAA, which reps Kidman and the filmmaking team, tried to broker a resolution before the festival, but the two sides were still at odds on the eve of the world debut. Weinstein’s cut is said to be a fairy-tale and reinvention story more palatable to American audiences, and though Dahan made some requested edits to his original version, it is still darker in tone and overall feel. Dahan’s version will be released in France and other territories this week, while Weinstein still has not set a U.S. release?date.