Fewer stars at Cannes but celebrity business goes on

Thu May 20, 2010 6:01am EDT
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By James Mackenzie

CANNES, France (Reuters) - No one knows if it's the rain, volcanic ash hanging over Europe, the lack of blockbusters or the financial crisis but everyone seems to agree there has been a shortage of stars at this year's Cannes film festival.

Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett led the festival opener "Robin Hood" but there is no Angelina Jolie or George Clooney to keep the buzz going, leaving paparazzi and video interviewers to chase the likes of Hollywood bad girl Lindsay Lohan.

"There's more star power in the jury than in any of the films," complained one industry publicist.

Kate Beckinsale, Benicio del Toro and director Tim Burton are all on the panel that will decide the competition winner, adding some glamour to the trademark Cannes mix of celebrity glitter and highbrow film artistry.

There have been sightings of big movie names like Johnny Depp and Michael Douglas but they have kept a lower profile than in other years and studios have cut back on the lavish parties used to generate excitement about films launched at Cannes.

Everything is relative and fewer Hollywood A-listers doesn't mean that the glamorous partying has entirely dried up along the palm-lined Croisette that fronts the Cannes bay.

Assorted celebrities from supermodel Naomi Campbell and party girl Paris Hilton to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger have all put in appearances either to push new projects or luxury products or simply to enjoy the atmosphere.

"Cannes is always a bit of a laugh, you don't quite know what you are going to get, but I always enjoy the week," said Jagger, who has been spending time on software billionaire Paul Allen's yacht while promoting a new documentary on the band.   Continued...

<p>Press photographers take pictures of guest walking on the red carpet ahead of the screening of the film Poetry in competition at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, May 19, 2010. REUTERS/Yves Herman</p>