Cannes: where celebrity sells and celebrities sell
By Belinda Goldsmith
CANNES (Reuters) - Film stars come to Cannes to promote themselves and their projects - so where better to launch a wry documentary bemoaning the seeming dominance of celebrity pulling-power over content?
With parties, pitching and paparazzi already in overdrive at the world's premier movie market, director James Toback on Sunday showed "Seduced and Abandoned", the story of how he and actor Alec Baldwin talked to directors, investors and studio heads at Cannes last year to seek funding for a film with no A-list star.
They never intended to make the film, but its seemingly bankable plot about a spy and a journalist in Iraq turned out to be no compensation for its lack of big names.
Baldwin himself was dismissed as a mere television actor, and the female star, Canada's Neve Campbell, star of the "Scream" films, was said to have little box office power.
"Money follows stars," says Toback in the documentary, acquired by Time Warner's HBO.
As well as being the world's top cinema showcase, Cannes brings together up to 40,000 professionals to buy and sell films and seek funding for projects, but many of these never see a film.
One investor tells Toback that he doesn't even read scripts but decides whether to back a project based on the stars involved, as the marketing of a movie has become more important than its content.
Small wonder, then, that the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake and Emma Watson are not merely promoting finished movies showing in the 12-day Cannes festival, but also taking advantage of the limelight to talk up their new projects and seek distributors. Continued...