Just one day after being pulled from its March release date in the U.S. from The Weinstein Company, the Nicole Kidman-headlined Grace of Monaco has been announced as the opening film of the 67th Cannes Film Festival. This turn of events may, in the end, be a saving face nod to a film that in recent months has seen more than a few bumps along the way to it’s theatrical release.
We reported just yesterday that The Weinstein Company had pulled the Grace Kelly biopic from its spring release date under the (now) seemingly cryptic idea that the finished film wasn’t yet delivered to the Harvey Weinstein-led studio. The film, which was originally pegged for 2013 awards run, has since been the subject of controversy after director Olivier Dahan (La Vie en Rose) chided Weinstein in a French newspaper expressing his disapproval over the finished cut of the film. Even with the its Cannes bow, there’s no official word as to whether or not Dahan has delivered a finished version of Grace of Monaco or when The Weinstein Company plans to release the film in the U.S.– perhaps they might be biding their time and awaiting what the reviews turn out to be.
With it’s lofty berth as the opening selection of Cannes (the fill will play out of competition) hopefully all is forgiven. The choice makes a certain degree of sense for the programmers of Cannes as it will provide a splashy opening night with one of the biggest movie stars in the world front and center. Kidman, especially, has a long history with the festival with past films like Lars von Trier’s Dogville playing in competition a decade ago and Moulin Rouge! opening the festival in 2001. She also served as a member of the jury at last years’ proceedings.
The opening night films of Cannes have in recent memory tended to skew more toward Hollywood films even as the festival tends to mostly ignore American products when giving out their yearly awards. Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning Midnight in Paris and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom each kicked off the festival in recent years. Just last year Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby opened the festival, itself a film that was delayed from a original awards friendly release date.
The 2014 Cannes Film Festival will run from May 14-25 with a jury led by director Jane Campion (The Piano), the only female filmmaker to have ever won the top prize in the festival’s history.