"Robin Hood" opens Cannes

Wed May 12, 2010 4:31pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - The Cannes film festival opened on Wednesday with the world premiere of "Robin Hood," Ridley Scott's epic version that seeks to show how the hero of legend becomes an outlaw robbing the rich to feed the poor.

New Zealand-born Russell Crowe, who plays the courageous 13th century archer, and Australian Cate Blanchett, as Maid Marion, were on the red carpet in the French Riviera resort for the start of the 12-day movie marathon.

Joining them on the stairs leading to the Grand Theater Lumiere were Helen Mirren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Eva Longoria Parker, Aishwarya Rai and jury president Tim Burton.

Robin Hood is one of only a handful of U.S. titles at this year's festival, an expensive if high-profile platform for movies, reflecting concerns over the state of the global economy and making the 2010 event relatively low-key in terms of stars.

"Maybe the main reason is the (financial) crisis, because cinema is an industry ... which needs a lot of money," festival director Thierry Fremaux told Reuters.

Robin Hood, which is being screened outside the all-male-directed, 19-strong competition lineup in Cannes, is an action-packed adaptation that suggests studio bosses at Universal Pictures are looking to build it into a lucrative franchise.

"There's no sort of cynicism with this, we don't have two other scripts under Ridley's hospital bed," Crowe told reporters.

"Obviously there's a figure in the studio heads' mind, if we pass a certain figure then they'll give us a call and say, 'well, tell the second part of the story', but there's no grand plan in that regard.   Continued...

<p>Jury president Tim Burton (R) looks on Cast members Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe (L) attend the opening ceremony of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival May 12, 2010. REUTERS/Yves Herman</p>