Premiering tonight at the Cannes Film Festival, Kitty follows a young girl who wakes up to find herself transformed into a kitten after months spent wishing she was one. Based on the short story by Beatnik writer Paul Bowles, the fifteen-minute film marks Chloë Sevigny’s first time behind the camera as director. She enlisted an impressive cast of characters for her first project, including keyboardist Brian DeGraw from Gang Gang Dance and Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Seamus McGarvey (Atonement). “The film is very music heavy, and there’s not a lot of dialogue, so thank god I had Brian!” she explains. Sevigny looked to the photographs of Sally Mann and Louis Carol as atmospheric inspirations, and says her biggest task was convincing her seven-year old star, Edie Yvonne, that dirt was, in fact, ok. “There was a lot of scenes where she had to be on the ground,” says Sevigny. “She didn’t like getting dirty and she’s wearing these white dresses. That was the hardest thing to communicate – that it was okay to get dirty.”
When did you first read the short story “Kitty”? I read the book when I was in my twenties. My boyfriend and I were fans of Paul Bowles’ work and his lifestyle – how he was the godfather of the Beats, gay, having a wife who was also a writer, his whole story and vibe. I read a collection of short stories called “Midnight Mass,” which included “Kitty,” and fell in love with it. It’s six pages, and I felt it was so cinematic and that it had to be put on film. Luckily enough, the Paul Bowles estate, who are very difficult to deal with because they are so protective, gave us the rights, so I went for it. I sat down, I wrote it. It was something I’ve wanted to do for twenty years.
The film has a sort of eighties vibe. Cinematically, yes. It was more that I love eighties fantasy movies, and I love the way eighties films are shot. I wanted it to be sort of timeless, so you couldn’t figure out when it was taking place. I love Flashdance, and Foxes. Those movies have such a dreamy quality. I loved the magical realism elements to it. I love practical effects, and no one uses them anymore because everything is CGI.
Magical realism, transformation, the story sounds pretty Kafka-esque. People are saying that… that it has a little “Metamorphosis,” a little Kafka. It’s very sweet. I wanted it to be a little whisper of a tale. Not a lot of dialogue, it’s very music heavy.
When you were little did you want to be an animal? Oddly no. I was happy being a little girl. But I do remember looking at myself in the mirror and seeing that I had blonde hair, blue eyes, and having that sense of vanity creeping in, that sense of self when you’re discovering your image. I think that’s what I wanted to explore with her in the beginning, when she’s contemplating whether she likes her existence as a little girl, or whether she would prefer to be something like a cat.
Everyone goes through that when they’re little. Was there some magical circumstance you wished for when you were younger? I wanted to live in another time… I remember my mother would be like, “Well then you couldn’t do this, or couldn’t do that,” but I was just like, “that’s ok, I would do other things.” I was obsessed with “Little House on the Prairie.” I wanted it to be colonial times or prairie times. I slept with a white nightcap.
And how did your career as an actor help or inform your directing abilities? I’ve been on so many sets and around so many different directors. I poached from a lot, it definitely helped when I was speaking with Edie, my seven-year old star, talking her through the scenes. I wanted to build a safe environment for her, so she can feel free to try stuff. I had it very quiet around set, kept it mellow and polite. I feel the director sets the tone on set. It was only three days of shooting so I didn’t have to maintain it for that long, but I really wanted to create this warm environment. The first day I showed up with this floral skirt on to dictate the tone. And I think it helped. The feeling of the movie is really delicate.
It’s funny how that matters. Was there anything in the directing process that particularly surprised you? Well I’ve never been a part of the post-production process of course, so that was difficult and I learned a lot. Editing, sound, mixing, all of that.
Did you bring on people you already knew to do all of that? Yes, I had my friend Brian DeGraw, who’s the keyboardist in Gang Gang Dance, do the scoring. Then I hired a young girl Sophie as the editor, she cut Love & Friendship, the Whit Stillman movie I’m in that just came out Friday. Then I’m using cinematographer Seamus McGarvey [Atonement], who I shot with in the 90s. I think he kind of set the bar. People were like “Seamus is shooting it?” He was the big ingredient.
So it was a family affair. We made it one.
Was it challenging to work with such a young actress? Guiding her, and getting her into character? I always treat children like they’re adults. Except for cursing, that’s the only thing I curbed around her. Otherwise I spoke to her like she was 40. The only difficulty I had with her is she didn’t like getting dirty, and there was a lot of scenes where she had to be on the ground, so I had to tell her not to worry about getting the nightgown dirty. She’s kind of a city kid, so she’s not into getting dirty. Then she’s wearing these white dresses, so she’s kind of confused. She’s like “I don’t know if I should be lying in the dirt” – that was the hardest thing to communicate, that it was okay to get dirty. Her mother said, “Yeah, she’s a bit more galleria.”
Was there something that spoke to you about her immediately? She has hair down to her waist, and these big blue eyes, and she just looked very fairytale-ish, from another world. She’s very sensitive and considered, and had never been in front of the camera before. She’s a little serious too which is why I think I responded to her.
It’s challenging to make art films with children involved. Was there any particular vibe you were trying to channel? Not necessarily, we looked at a lot of photography. Like Sally Man, Lewis Carroll, and David Hamilton. We didn’t want to sexualize her though, and it’s such an easy thing to do.
And you shot on film. What led to that decision? It’s so much prettier! After we shot I had all this film leftover, which is actually in Kim Gordon’s garage in Los Angeles. She’s storing it for me. So I want to shoot something in LA when I’m there this summer.
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Who’s Who: Meet the Beautiful People of the Cannes Film Festival
Catrioina Balfe Born in the Irish countryside, 36-year-old Catrioina Balfe began her career in the spotlight as an international runway model, walking for the likes of Michael Kors, Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, before she was bitten by the acting bug and headed west to LA to try her luck on the silver screen. It wasn’t long before she landed the lead on the STARZ hit TV show “Outlander,” which helped her nab a role in “Money Monster,” which premieres tomorrow night at the Grand Palais. The film follows Lee Gates, a wealthy financial talk show host (George Clooney), who is held hostage on his live TV show by a man who lost his entire life’s savings after falling victim to a corporate financial scheme that Clooney promoted on his show. Balfe plays the financial company’s communications director who has a moral awakening halfway through the film, when she realizes the extent of her boss’s deceit and her role as a cog in the American money wheel. For her audition, director Jodie Foster had Balfe embrace her Irish heritage, and asked her to read in her natural Irish accent. “Originally I auditioned with an American accent, but she wanted me to do it in my Irish one, to show how my character probably didn’t come from much, how she had to work her way up, like the image of the American dream.”
Caitriona Balfe wears a Louis Vuitton dress.
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Styled by Tara Swennen and Louis Vuitton. Hair by Marcus Francis at Starworks, makeup by Mary Wiles at the Wall Group. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
Rebecca Hall When 34-year-old Rebecca Hall first came to Cannes in 2008 for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (in which she played Vicky), she didn’t even bring a dress to walk the carpet. “I got to Cannes and was like ‘wow, this is a huge thing…’ but I learned from my mistake!” quips Hall, who’s saving grace was Alberta Ferretti who came to the rescue at the last minute. With that behind her, the London-born actress returned to the Grand Palais, fully equipped in Dior Couture, for her film “The BFG,” Steven Spielberg’s remake of Roald Dahl’s 1982 childhood classic. Shot in Vancouver, the film follows an orphan named Sophie who teams up with the Big Friendly Giant to defend the world against evil people-eating giants. Hall plays Mary, the Queen of England’s maid, who comes to Sophie’s rescue. Hall lovingly describes her character as “a quite rotund, fleshy maid with a feather duster,” and promises that she bears no similarities to her character besides her English origin. “I brought my own idea of how I see the world to the character,” she begins. “Perhaps our warmth maybe similar, but beyond that no. She’s frightfully British and put together – she wears tweed and this crazy ’80s, early ’90s posh British hair.”
Rebecca Hall wears Alexander Wang dress, CVC Stones necklace, Shahla Karimi ring and bracelet, and Saint Laurent sneakers.
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Styled by Alexia Niedzielski. Hair and makeup by Stephen Sollito. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
Lily-Rose Depp Although she didn’t dance as a child, it didn’t take long for 16-year-old Lily-Rose Depp to learn the moves for her role as the renowned modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan in “La Danseuse,” which premiered on Friday night in the Un Certain Regard category at the Cannes Film Festival. As part of her audition, director Stephanie Di Giusto left Depp with a choreographer for an hour to learn a dance routine. By the time Di Giusto came back, Depp nailed the routine and landed the part. “It was important to Stephanie that I could move my body in a kind of abandonment,” begins Depp, “we showed her what we’d done, and I guess she liked it!” La Daneuse is based on the story of Loie Fuller (Soko), one of the pioneers of the modern dance movement, and her heated, manipulative, relationship with Duncan, which eventually led to Fuller’s downfall. The film also stars Gaspard Ulliel as one of Fuller’s financial supporters, and Melanie Thierry as her producer. Depp first got wind of the role through Soko, who was a friend prior to shooting, and says one of their most memorable bonding experiences was when they were shooting in a castle and they had to cling to hot water bottles to keep warm. For the film’s premiere, Depp wore Chanel, a deep-rooted relationship which began when she met Lagerfeld when she was eight years old with her mother Vanessa Paradis, and father Johnny Depp. “I looked through all the Chanel shows,” explains Depp as to what led to the final sartorial decision of the night. “I picked a dress that Karl had paired with a little white t-shirt. I loved the armlets, I felt it was Cleopatra-esque.”
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
Freida Pinto Founded in 2015 by Italian filmmaker Chiara Tilesi, We Do It Together, the non-profit film finance and production company dedicated to female-driven content, recently announced its first feature film: “Together Now.” The film is a series of shorts and each segment pairs a female director with an actress to tell an inspiring story, such as Freida Pinto, 31, who has been paired with director Katia Lund (“City of God”), both of whom are currently in Cannes to promote the initiative. The duo, who have been friends for five years, were trying to make a film together before this opportunity even arose. Lund will accompany Pinto on her trip to Bombay this week, where she is starring in a new feature film produced by Tabrez Noorani (“Life of Pi” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” in which Pitno starred), who they hope to work with for their film segment. “It’s a luxury that Katia will be able to spend time on set with me because we’ve never really seen how the other one work, so it will be really helpful in a way,” Pinto explains. While they are unsure as to how the plot will unfold, they want to set their short in either Brazil or Bombay. “The beauty of a project like this is that you have creative freedom,” Lund explains, “So who knows, maybe we’ll film in both!” Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
In his breakout role as Bryce Larkin on ABC’s “Chuck,” Matt Bomer, 38, played the suave straight guy and sometime-nemesis to Zachary Levi’s titular character, an accidental superspy. He followed that performance with a five-season run as Neal Caffrey on USA’s “White Collar” — in short, he’s no stranger to playing the charming antihero. He embraces his criminal side once more in his most recent turn as the gun-toting John Boy in the Ryan Gosling-Russell Crowe comedy “The Nice Guys,” which premiered at Cannes on Sunday. Gosling and Crowe play an unlikely pair of private investigators hired to track down a missing girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) in ’70s California. Amelia, meanwhile, flits around the edges of the film while its titular Nice Guys locate her. For the role, Bomer sports a set of bangs that somehow perfectly place him in character as the slapstick villain of an already slapstick trajectory. Matt wears Armani jacket, shirt, pants, and shoes. Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Groomer: Katya Thomas. Text: Katie Cusumano.
Mélanie Thierry The story of Isadora Duncan and Loïe Fuller is a well-worn one, but it gets an inventive treatment in director Stéphanie Di Giusto’s “The Dancer” (La Danseuse). And, though the title could refer to either Duncan (played by Lily-Rose Depp) or Fuller (Soko), it’s 34-year-old Mélanie Thierry who consistently steals scenes, dancer though she may not be. As Gabrielle, the assistant to the head (François Damiens) of the famed French nightclub Les Folies Bergères, Thierry’s role is an understated yet important one. She’s an unlikely early advocate of Fuller, her long glances and lines muttered at a near-whisper a counterpoint to the on-stage spectacle of dance and the interpersonal drama. But Thierry, whose been in a string of French films and TV shows since the mid-90s, has brought the drama to the Cannes red carpet, donning a number of eye-catching ensembles for the miniature press tour: first, a bright red Sonia Rykiel minidress for an afternoon photocall; for the premiere of “The Dancer,” a sleek Stella McCartney gown; and for the premiere of “The BFG,” a short, embellished Giambattista Valli dress. It might technically be Soko and Depp’s show, but Thierry has ensured she gets her share of the spotlight.
Melanie wears Sonia Rykiel dress. Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Hair by Alex Andrinepiel, makeup by Phophie Mathias. Text: Katie Cusumano.
Riley Keough “It was the craziest thing you could ever imagine, multiplied by a hundred times crazy, every minute of every day,” says 26-year-old Riley Keough of her experience shooting “American Honey,” which premiered on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by British-born Andrea Arnold (“Fish Tank”), the film follows eighteen-year-old Star (Sasha Lane), who flees her perilous home and joins a group of magazine salespeople in their 20s. The crew, led by Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and Krystal (Riley Keough), travel America trying to make ends meet. Filmed all over the US, the cast went from Oklahoma to North Dakota and everywhere in between. “I play the boss of the magazine crew, who’s kind of lost and going through an identity crisis,” explains Keough, who met Arnold a few years ago on a beach during – what else? – the Cannes festival. (Previously, the granddaughter of Elvis Presley appeared in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Magic Mike,” and “The Girlfriend Experience.”) “This experience was nothing like shooting a movie. The people, the places – I want to share a lot, but I’ve never had the opportunity to keep something to myself before, and I feel I’m allowed to on this movie,” explains Keough, who insists that the film will speak for itself. “Andrea’s outlook on life is really beautiful. She’s an adult who hasn’t lost the magic in life,” she continues. “She looks at things in a childlike way still, which is rare for someone over 30.”
Riley wears Christopher Kane top and skirt, Casadei shoes. Photo by Victoria Stevens. Styled by Jamie Schneider. Hair by Jen Atkin, makeup by Vincent Oquendo. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
Juliette Binoche Juliette Binoche is a Cannes Film Festival veteran. Since 1985, she’s appeared on the shores of the South of France alongside legends like Jean Reno and Elia Kazan — but Binoche, who’s attending this year’s festival in support of her new film “Slack Bay,” is a legend in her own right. A César winner and Oscar nominee whose credits include “Chocolat,” “Paris, je t’aime,” and “Three Colors,” her last Cannes appearance was for “Clouds of Sils Maria,” in which she starred alongside Kristen Stewart (who went on to win the César for her performance); the two reunite again at this year’s festival, albeit promoting different movies. Binoche is also a staunch and vocal supporter of female filmmakers — she will team up with Freida Pinto, Robin Wright, and Catherine Hardwicke on Together Now, a series of seven short films under the auspices of nonprofit production company We Do It Together. During a year in which Cannes has been punctuated by conversation about social justice and gender in Hollywood, Binoche is one of the women turning those words into reality.
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Katie Cusumano.
Adam Driver’s breakout role as Lena Dunham’s on-again, off-again boyfriend on HBO’s long-running series “Girls” is only half the story. The 32-year-old ex-marine has shown great versatility over the years, jumping from artful indies to Hollywood blockbusters and back. In the past five years alone, Driver has worked under the guidance of film’s most notable giants like Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln), Clint Eastwood (“J. Edgar), the Coen brothers (“Inside Llewyn Davis”), Martin Scorsese (“Silence”), and Jeff Nichols (“Midnight Special”). Now he can add Jim Jarmusch to that expanding list with his titular role in “Paterson.” In Jarmusch’s Palme d’Or contender at the Cannes Film Festival, he plays an unassuming bus driver with a love for poetry, something that Driver also learned to appreciate during filming. “I just didn’t understand the value of language until I went to acting school probably,” he says. Another skill he picked up for the role? Driving a bus. “It was a three-month bus course to drive in those two or three scenes,” Driver recalls. During the festival, news broke that he’s also signed on for Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Another small movie on the horizon? “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” set for 2017. But don’t count on any feedback from the actor himself—he never watches his own films. “I always feel like I can handle watching myself, but then it’s months of depression when I do,” he says. “You just become very self-aware.”
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Kee Chang.
Gaspard Ulliel The French drama “La Daneuse,” (“The Dancer”) which premiered on Friday at the Cannes Film Festival, is based on the story of Loie Fuller (played by Soko), one of the pioneers of the modern dance movement, and her heated relationship with her protégée, Isadora Duncan (Lily-Rose Depp). 31-year-old Gaspard Ulliel plays Count Louis Dorsay, a fictional character invented for the film, who is one of Fuller’s admirers and financial supporters. “Their relationship is between friendship and love,” Ulliel says. “His encounter with Loie Fuller keeps him alive in a way when he discovers her dance and how different it is from anything he’s seen before. She brings a new energy to his existence and they have this erotic tension.” While it’s his fifth go-round at the festival, it’s the first time Ulliel is here with not one, but two feature films, the second being the much-hyped Xavier Dolan movie, “It’s Only the End of the World,” which premieres in competition at the festival on Thursday. Filmed in Canada over the course of nineteen days, the film follows a writer who returns home to his family after twelve years to reveal his impending death. “I’ve never seen someone direct a set like Xavier before,” he says. “For an actor it’s very disturbing at first. He intervenes a lot and he’s very present on set. He is precise on each direction – maybe too precise sometimes. He would correct you with the smallest details – saying put your face like that, or like this, raise your eye brow like that.” Still, Ulliel loved the experience, particularly the time spent with his cast mates, including Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, and Vincent Cassell. Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
When actor-turned-director Matt Ross’s new film “Captain Fantastic” premiered at Cannes, it received a nearly 10-minute standing ovation. Though Ross is still best known for his recurring roles in “American Horror Story,” “Silicon Valley,” and “Big Love,” his latest effort’s auspicious start — first at Sundance, and now at Cannes — proves he’s one to keep an eye on behind, as well as in front of, the camera. “Captain Fantastic” is a road-trip dramedy, a well-worn genre that, under Ross’s guidance and fronted by a bearded Viggo Mortensen, feels anything but cliché. Mortensen plays a widower, a father of six, who takes his children out of their cloistered existence in the forests of Washington (they’ve foregone normal society in favor of a back-to-basics life in the wilderness) to attend their mother’s funeral. With abundant culture clash — everything the children know about the outside world, they’ve learned from books — and poignant father-son moments, Ross’s movie marks him as the rare actor who might really pull off the transition to director.
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Katherine Cusumano.
In director Matt Ross’s “Captain Fantastic,” 24-year-old British actor George MacKay plays the eldest son in a family that’s foregone city — or even community — life in favor of a sequestered, almost cult-like existence in the forests of Washington. Home-schooled and raised on foraging, he and his five siblings are thrust back into the real world with the death of their mother. Patriarch Viggo Mortensen takes them on the road to attend her funeral, with enough socially awkward hijinks along the way — at a diner, we learn the kids don’t know what Coke is, and after a short make-out with a girl, MacKay’s character proposes marriage. MacKay, who also appeared in 2008’s “Defiance” with Liev Schreiber and Daniel Craig, is no stranger to the circus of Cannes — his film “For Those In Peril,” for which he won a Scottish BAFTA for Best Actor, premiered at the festival in 2013. This year, in addition to “Captain Fantastic,” he’s adding to an already-impressive resume with an appearance in the Hulu adaptation of Stephen King’s “11.22.63” and an upcoming role in “Likely Stories,” a miniseries adaptation of short stories by Neil Gaiman.
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Katherine Cusumano.
For her first day on the set of “Kitty,” Chloë Sevigny purposely chose to wear a floral skirt. “I wanted to dictate the tone, and I think it helped,” explained Sevigny, of her desire to create a warm on-set environment for her seven-year old star, Edie Yvonne. Premiering tonight at the Cannes Film Festival, the fifteen-minute short was shot over the course of three days, and marks Sevigny’s first time behind the camera as director. (She’s had plenty of onscreen roles, including in “American Horror Story,” “Bloodline,” and “Portlandia.”) Based on the short story by Beatnik writer Paul Bowles, “Kitty” follows a young girl who wakes up to find herself transformed into a kitten after months spent wishing for it. For the film, Sevigny, 41, enlisted an impressive cast of characters, including keyboardist Brian DeGraw from Gang Gang Dance and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (of “Atonement”). “The film is very music heavy, and there’s not a lot of dialogue, so thank god I had Brian!” she says. Sevigny looked to the photographs of Sally Mann and Louis Carol as atmospheric inspirations, and says her biggest task was convincing Yvonne that dirt is, in fact, ok. “There was a lot of scenes where she had to be on the ground,” says Sevigny. “She didn’t like getting dirty and she’s wearing these white dresses. That was the hardest thing to communicate – that it was okay to get dirty.” Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
On the set of “Captain Fantastic,” director Matt Ross put his cast through familial bonding initiatives. “Matt and his producers were great at allowing a family atmosphere to happen organically, we didn’t have to pretend we liked each other, the kids called me their ‘summer dad,’” explains 51-year-old Viggo Mortensen, whose credits include “Carlito’s Way,” “The Indian Runner” and “The Lord of the Rings.” “Captain Fantastic,” which received an overwhelming standing ovation on Tuesday evening when it screened at the Cannes Film Festival, follows a dad (Mortensen) who is forced to bring his family into society after raising them in the wilderness. “People waited afterwards to tell us how much they were moved, or were made to think about their own lives and societies,” explains Mortensen. “But I don’t think it would have had the reaction that it did if you didn’t believe it was a family.” Good thing they went through a rigorous bonding process on set in Washington State, or what Mortensen refers to as “bootcamp,” which consisted of fire building, skinning, butchering, and Mortensen’s most dreaded activity, rock climbing. “I have a fear of heights, so when everyone went down for lunch, I was still standing up there,” he says. “The kids were like ‘Viggo come down to lunch!’ and I said ‘no, just send a sandwich up!’ I was absolutely terrified. I couldn’t look down.” Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
Pedro Almodovar and Adriana Ugarte
“I can be a nightmare for an actress. I’m a very obsessive director, but she’s a soldier,” said prolific Spanish director Pedro Almodovar of Adriana Ugarte, the star of his film, “Julieta,” which premiered on Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival. “The casting director sent me a text and said it was for one of the biggest directors, and that I had to prepare it perfectly, but wouldn’t tell me the identity of the director who I was auditioning for,” explained a Dior-clad Ugarte of how she landed the role. “When I finished the second audition with Pedro’s notes, and they told me it was Almodovar, I thought it was a joke, that I could never be one of Pedro’s girls.” The film is set during two periods of protagonist Julieta’s life – the first when she’s a young girl, and the second when she’s older and her daughter unexpectedly goes missing. Ugarte, who’s best known thus far for her roles on Spanish TV shows, plays the young Julieta, and found working with the Spanish director unlike anything she had ever done before. “She’s a woman of the 21st century,” he says of his 33-year-old star, “but she also has all that youth, joy, and extreme dedication that I needed for the character.” Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
“I’ve never had such an emotional connection to any movie I’ve been involved in,” says Australian actor Joel Edgerton, on playing Richard Loving in “Loving,” which premiered on Tuesday to critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. And he has a long list of movies to compare it to: “The Great Gatsby,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Secret Life of Us” among them. The Jeff Nichols’ drama chronicles the love story between the brick-layer and his African American wife, Mildred, and the 1967 Supreme Court case that ensued, Loving vs. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage. To prep for the role, the 41-year-old actor spent weeks learning the ins and outs of Loving’s life in Richmond, Virginia, going to brick-laying school, driving routes that Loving had taken, and visiting the prison where he was incarcerated with his wife. “The spirits and the ghosts of those people and that world surrounded the shoot,” he explains. “On the first day we visited the graveyard where he was buried with his wife, and from that moment I could see we were going to belong to the movie in a way that would be a very special experience.” Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Gillian Sagansky.
Reactions to Nicolas Winding Refn’s “The Neon Demon,” which premiered at Cannes Thursday night, have been mixed, to say the least. Critics rave: “lurid,” “gorgeous hypocrisy,” “Zoolander 3 but erotic and evil” — a polarizing mix of descriptors that seem pretty much par for the course for the director behind “Only God Forgives” and “Drive.” And at the center of it all is a cast of beautiful people (it’s a horror movie about the fashion industry, after all), including Christina Hendricks, Elle Fanning, Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Bella Heathcote. In the film, 28-year-old Aussie Heathcote plays a conniving model who envies the vulnerable Fanning’s youthful beauty. (“The Neon Demon” is based in part on a 16th-century tale of a Hungarian countess who bathed in the blood of virgins to maintain her youth). Heathcote got her start, like so many of her countrymen, on the long-running soap “Neighbors,” but she’s still a relative newcomer on American shores. She caught a bit of a break working with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter on “Dark Shadows” in 2012, but 2016 is already shaping up to be her proverbial big break: Beyond “The Neon Demon,” she also landed a spot on “The Man in the High Castle,” the small but acclaimed Amazon drama, a role as Jane Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (perhaps underscoring a penchant for blood and gore), and a part in next year’s “50 Shades Darker.” Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Katherine Cusumano.
Léa Seydoux didn’t initially want to be an actress. Though she was exposed early to the film industry — her grandfather is the president of Pathé, the French production company, and her great-uncle the president of French film studio Gaumont — she dreamed of being an opera singer, she told the Independent in 2012. Yet now, she’s immediately recognizable to audiences in French and English-speaking countries alike, thanks to supporting roles in films like “Inglorious Bastards” and “Midnight in Paris,” and her star turn in 2013’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” for which she won the Palme d’Or at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. She’s back this year in support of “It’s Only the End of the World,” Xavier Dolan’s latest, in which she plays the sister of a playwright who returns home after 12 years to tell his family he’s dying. She and Gaspard Ulliel are surrounded by an all-star cast of French actors including Vincent Cassel and Marion Cotillard, all of whom appeared on Thursday night’s red carpet in support of the film. Movie career aside, Seydoux, 30, is also a frequent front row fixture who has acted as muse to Miuccia Prada, and who lately has caught Nicholas Ghesquière’s eye as the new face of Louis Vuitton. The designer outfitted her for the Met Gala and throughout Cannes, including her shimmering silver look at the premiere. Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Katherine Cusumano.
Xavier Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World” may be getting mixed reviews, but it’s still the most talked about film at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and early critics are pointing to Vincent Cassel as the potential saving grace. In it, the 49-year-old actor plays the older brother of a playwright (Gaspard Ulliel), who comes home after 12 years to reveal his impending death to his family. He’s cast opposite Marion Cotillard, who plays his wife. Prolific in France since the early 1990s, Cassel is best known to English-speaking audiences for his performances in “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen” as well as “Black Swan.” This year, he’ll also add a role in “Jason Bourne” to that list, alongside Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander. Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Ally Betker.
30-year-old actor Dane DeHaan has a success story worthy of, well, the movies. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and growing up in a largely average household, he rocketed to recognition after being cast in “Chronicle” and “Lawless” in 2012. Those were followed up by roles in “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Kill Your Darlings,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Now, he’s at the Cannes Film Festival for “Two Lovers and a Bear,” Kim Nquyen’s North Pole drama. He stars alongside Tatiana Maslany, his love interest, and Aggie, a live polar bear. DeHaan’s boyish looks have seemingly captured the fashion industry too. Hedi Slimane shot him for Hero magazine in 2013, and Annie Leibovitz photographed him for a Prada ad campaign in 2014. And the fashion connections don’t stop there. He’s set to star alongside Cara Delevingne in Luc Besson’s sci-fi film “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” in 2017.
Photo by Victoria Stevens. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee. Text: Ally Betker.
Photo Editor: Biel Parklee.