Let the games begin. Checked in to our usual hotel on Wednesday. We had intended to have a fairly quiet night first meeting with some of the team at the bar at the Majestic Hotel and then a quick dinner at our favourite Cannes restaurant Da Laura. It seems that a lot of people had the same idea: the restaurant was packed and we bumped into lots of people we knew. There was definitely a festive air. Side note: Da Laura is one of Cannes most popular restaurants for us industry types. Laura, the owner, is the only one allowed to take orders, no matter how busy. So service is crazy slow but food is incredible.
Thursday began late with our first meeting at noon going over the endless details for the screening and surrounding events. You would think we were planning a state dinner while we arranged the reserved seating plan for our almost 200 guests to the screening on Friday night!
How close this person should be sitting to the director? Where do we seat the entourage of each of the stars and what is the hierarchy amongst them. And on and on. Thankfully my producing partner Simone Urdl has the patience and diplomacy to deal with these details. Then on to the fun stuff!
For the first time we were invited to a gift suite. Usually they're reserved for the on-screen talent but Natalie Dubois of DPA Marketing was kind enough to invite us in. There were lots of skincare lines represented (those facial masks are great for an early meeting after only a few hours sleep), as well as jewelry, shoes and clothing.
I had forgotten to pack my tuxedo shirt so Natalie was gracious to offer one from an Indian line of clothing called Aliph. It's going to look great with my new Ralph Lauren tux. On the way out of the gift suite at the Carlton Hotel we bumped into Scott Speedman just arriving and checking into the hotel. There was some sort of flash baggage-handlers strike -- along with a flash taxi driver strike - so his luggage hadn't arrived with him. Rosario Dawson arrived later in the evening and her luggage was also delayed. Vive La France!
We've been wanted to go to Gaston Gastounette, a classic Cannes seafood restaurant for years. We finally made it on Thursday night. I was excited to see Elena Lenina there and had to get a picture with her. I've been obsessed with this Russian reality TV star since first seeing her last year in Cannes in her mile-high hair creations and over-the-top dresses. Tonight she was rather demure.
Up early the next morning for the official photocall for the film held on top of the Palais theatre. What a scene -- about 150 photographers and camera crews stacked up on bleachers screaming the names of the actors in French accents. Ryan Reynolds was Rian. Scott Speedman was Scote. Very funny.
Luckily for all of us both Rosario and Scott's luggage was delivered by the time they got up on Friday morning. Everyone looked incredible. We hadn't seen most of the cast since last winter when we were shooting with them in Sudbury and Niagara Falls. Although, the exception seems to be Scott whom were always accidentally bumping into.
After the photocall we were brought inside to the press conference. All of our cast and Atom were incredibly articulate in discussing the film. I was particularly taken by Ryan and Mireille Enos, playing the grieving and separated parents of a missing child. They had chosen to wait to see the film on the big screen at the Palais, rather than on a digital link but their answers to questions were spot-on.
After the press conference Jennifer and Simone headed off to get blowouts and have their makeup done at the private L'Oreal makeup room. Jennifer was mesmerized by the beauty of the woman sitting in the chair next to her. She didn't recognize her at first but she quickly realized she had struck up a friendly conversation with recent Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o!
I headed back to the hotel for a quick nap -- I forgot to mention that after dinner the night before I had headed out to Silencio with friends. I needed to do a site inspection for the next evening's party. Really! It was the first night for the Cannes pop-up so it was jammed but lots of fun. In my next entry I will be detailing Friday night's festivities so stay tuned!