Michael Douglas Says 'Everything Must Be OK' at Deauville American Film Festival Opening

Michael Douglas Deauville Film Festival - H 2013
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Michael Douglas Deauville Film Festival - H 2013

The actor joined Steven Soderbergh for a screening of "Behind the Candelabra" just days after it was reported that he and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones had separated.

DEAUVILLE -- Michael Douglas and Steven Soderbergh opened the 39th Deauville American Film Festival to a raucous standing ovation just before the first screening of the weeklong event, with Behind the Candelabra.

After greeting the crowd in a bit of French, Douglas thanked his director for putting the project on hold while he battled throat cancer, crediting the film with carrying him through his treatment. “I want to take a moment now to personally thank Steven and Matt [Damon, who co-stars in the film], for waiting for me. It changed it, everything else, through the cancer that a movie like this was waiting for me, and for that, Steven, I will be eternally grateful.”

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Perhaps alluding to his recently reported separation from wife Catherine Zeta-Jones as well as his health troubles, he added: “People have been kindly asking how I’m doing. Well, I put on a suit tonight -- one that I can’t come close to buttoning -- so everything must be OK.”

Behind the Candelabra, which premiered to a standing ovation at Cannes and aired on HBO in the U.S., opens Sept. 18 in France.

Soderbergh said that the festival held a special significance for him because of the historical ties between French and American movies.

“A lot of people don’t understand the connection that American and French cinema have. They were born almost literally in the same year,” he said. “They came up together and grew up together. And that is why I like to come to Deauville, to be part of that fraternity.”

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Earlier in the ceremony, jury president Vincent Lindon shared an anecdote about being pushed aside by paparazzi in New York who were trying to get a picture of Bradley Cooper and waxed rhapsodically about the America portrayed on screen, saying he sometimes wishes that he had grown up in Brooklyn or New Jersey.

The Cesar-nominated actor went on to thank the members of the jury, including actress Lou Doillon, writer Jean Echenoz, Cesar-nominated actress Helene Fillieres, director Xavier Giannoli, actress Famke Janssen, journalist Pierre Lescure, BAFTA-winning cinematographer Bruno Nuytten and director Rebecca Zlotowski for spending a week indoors at the small seaside resort town watching American movies.

Cate Blanchett also attended the festival opening. Though she made a glamorous entrance in an ethereal white beaded gown, she stayed quietly seated at the back of the theater during the ceremony. She will be honored with a career tribute and take part in a screening of Blue Jasmine presented by director Woody Allen tomorrow.