‘Annette’: Leos Carax Wants To Be The Third Sparks Brother; Marion Cotillard Talks Fame; Simon Helberg On Sharing Martial Arts Passion With Thierry Fremaux; Adam Driver No-Show At Presser – CannesJuly 7, 2021
At a Cannes Film Festival like no other, Leos Carax’s Annette may have been the perfect opening movie.
Our Pete Hammond described it as an “offbeat rock opera musical fantasy” (not the most populated on genres) in his Deadline review last night, and the film’s creativity and originality, typical of Carax, has set the Croisette abuzz with upbeat chatter about just how good the Cannes program looks this year. Some are doubting Annette’s mainstream appeal and awards potential, and of course plenty of people left the premiere halfway through (possibly to watch the Spain v Italy soccer match penalty shootout) but on the whole the general message is – arthouse cinema is back, and there’s going to be a lot to look forward to across the next 10 days.
The Annette team gathered again this morning for the post-screening press conference, sans Adam Driver who was a no-show. Driver caused a bit of a stir here last night when he lit up a cigarette during the post-premiere standing ovation in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, exhaling right down the Canal+ TV camera. While no one is encouraging that sort of behavior, perhaps the blame is at the feet of director Leos Carax, who by cutting the film to a hefty 2-hour-20 runtime created a challenge for any nicotine addict, particularly after one hour-plus of opening speeches.
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In fact, Carax also sported a cigarette in his hand when he abruptly exited this morning’s presser, declaring that he “needed to go for a piss” but “would be back”. Amusingly this was just after the final question had been asked so everyone else promptly followed.
The conference was devoid of any real controversy. Star Marion Cotillard discussed the challenges of being in the limelight as a movie star, “It’s been a big question in my personal life. Why do you need to be looked at, loved by some many people? It can build your confidence…but it can destroy you. Especially when you don’t have so much love for yourself. We’ve seen so many celebrities go down.”
She also talked about the unconventional process behind filming the musical, with the vocals captured in camera and not dubbed over in post-production. “Normally you record the songs in a studio and lip-sync on set,” she explained, “Here it was live, it means that the sound of the singing was changed by every movement of the body. We had a lot of action while singing, it was different from any other project that involves singing.”
Actor Simon Helberg drew the biggest laugh when he was asked about sharing something in common with Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux – a passion for martial arts.
“Do you want me to fight him? Is that what you’re asking? We will fight,” Helberg joked.
He was also asked about getting physical with Adam Driver in the film, and whether his martial arts training might have allowed him to fight back.
“I had no chance with Adam,” the actor said, pointing out the significant height difference between him and the former U.S. Marine Driver. “I just had to submit.”
The film had an unconventional journey to the screen, having been penned by music duo the Sparks Brothers some eight years ago, initially as an album. Read more on that in Damon Wise’s feature here.
Speaking at the presser, Ron and Russell Mael, aka the Sparks Brothers, said they had found a “kindred spirit” in Carax and that working with the filmmaker had been “a dream”.
Carax in turn said part of his inspiration behind wanting to do the film was a frustration about not being a musician – “music rejected me when I was a kid” – and added that he wished he could have been the third Sparks Brother.
Asked whether they would explore doing a live version, the musicians said they were open to it, but only if Carax directs it. Seeing as Carax does roughly one major project a decade, that might be asking a lot.
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