Tilda Swinton injects her own brand of otherworldly-cool into Jim Jarmusch's latest movie Only Lovers Left Alive, an unusual comedy that puts a spin on the age-old vampire genre.
The film, the last English-language entry competing for the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or, sees Swinton play Eve, a grungy but erudite vampire - who's married to a forlorn vampire musician, Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston. Several-hundred-year-old Adam - of Biblical fame - has been living quite happily ever since being expelled from the Garden of Eden.
That is, until the 21st century came along with its excesses and greed and pushed him into a full-flung existential crisis. He cracks, and orders a wooden bullet to kill himself.
With such a wacky plot, it's no surprise the film nearly didn't get made. It took seven years to find a backer - which Jarmusch says is because producers won't take creative risks anymore.
The idea of Michael Douglas playing Liberace might seem nearly as outrageous as Liberace himself.
Liberace, forever hailed as "Mr. Showmanship," was the excess-to-the-max pianist-personality whose onstage and offstage extravagance were legendary, and who wowed audiences in Las Vegas and worldwide to become the best-paid entertainer on the planet during his heyday from the 1950s to the 1970s.
He was the forerunner of flashy, gender-bender entertainers like Elton John, David Bowie, Madonna and Lady Gaga even as he kept a tight lid on his gay private life, which he feared could have ended his career had it come out. (His fans never seemed to get wise.)
Joel and Ethan Coen had almost given up on casting the lead for their film Inside Llewyn Davis. The part, a folk musician in early 1960s Greenwich Village, demanded the elusive combination of someone who could both carry a movie and perform the songs central to the film.
Then they met Oscar Isaac.
"It just didn't happen until he walked in the room," says Joel Coen. "There was a point at which we wondered if we'd written something that was essentially impossible to cast."
The Coens have long been known for their casting acumen, but they may have outdone even themselves with Isaac, a 33-year-old, Juilliard-trained actor with a few notable credits to his name but nothing on par with a major Coen brothers release. The film was greeted ecstatically at the Cannes Film Festival at its Sunday premiere, with Isaac hailed as the festival's breakout star and a possible Oscar nominee.
Before Fruitvale Station, Michael B. Jordan was glimpsed sporadically in supporting roles on TV shows like "The Wire" and "Friday Night Lights," and in films like Chronicle and Red Tails.
That changes emphatically with Fruitvale Station, a Sundance hit that premiered Thursday night at the Cannes Film Festival. In the film, he plays Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old victim of the infamous 2009 police shooting on the Oakland, California, transit system.
To humanize Grant, first-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler fashioned the movie around his last day: Jordan hardly leaves the frame.
Hollywood has invaded France - no, not like that - and with A-listers making their way to La Croisette for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, there's been plenty of gossip and glamour, with Leo's The Great Gatsby providing the requisite glitter and Sofia Coppola's Emma Watson-led The Bling Ring shining bright like a diamond.
Many celebs are still commenting on the news of Angelina Jolie's preventative double mastectomy and Zach Braff's somewhat ill-received Kickstarter movie funding campaign with breakout stars and ones to watch starting to make themselves known as the fest gets underway.
Here now is a compilation of what's been Seen & Heard so far at the Cannes Film Festival.
It's the big Cannes question - what will catch Steven Spielberg's eye?
The king of Hollywood heads the jury that will decide who wins the Palme d'Or and other prizes at the French Riviera film fest, and artistic director Thierry Fremaux can't wait to find out what takes his fancy.
"We know (Spielberg) the director, but we don't know who he will be as a spectator," Fremaux said Tuesday.
"Take the two Japanese films" in competition. Will the director of Jaws, E.T. and Saving Private Ryan root for Takashi Miike's action-packed crime drama Shield of Straw or for Kore-Eda Hirokazu's intimate family story Like Father, Like Son.
The Cannes Film Festival announced its most Hollywood-heavy jury lineup in years Wednesday, with a list that includes Oscar winners Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz and Ang Lee.
Veteran filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who is 2013's jury president, will make this an Oscar-winning quartet - a rare event for a festival that prides itself on celebrating less mainstream, independent cinema.
"The Oscars (connection) is a coincidence as all this people are friends of Cannes. And don't forget that these stars are also involved and engaged in independent cinema," Cannes Artistic Director Thierry Fremaux told The Associated Press.
"It has to be legitimate and glamorous... They all have their (unique) place in the jury," he added.
The Cannes Film Festival's 2013 lineup announced Thursday features work from some of the globe's most dangerous locales for artists, and a sprinkling of works by old favorites including Roman Polanski, the Coen brothers and Steven Soderbergh.
Celebrating world cinema from countries with limited freedom of expression is clearly one of this year's stories, with works from Chad, China and Iran among the 19 films competing for the Palme d'Or, one of cinema's most coveted prizes.
"The festival is a house that shelters artists in danger," said Cannes President Gilles Jacob, who announced the nominees Thursday.
Find out who made the Festival's cut after the jump!
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