Okay, this is by far our most popular "celebrity" story from the Cannes film festival: So we had spent several days trying to plug a film that we were working on, spreading the word about the films we were showing there, and trying to see as many movies as we could in the space between. We were ready for a low-key film industry-free day on the beach. We packed our beach bags and headed out.
There are several "beaches" with piers owned by the different hotels in Cannes. You have to maneuver around them if you just want to walk along the shore. During the festival, many of them are closed for private parties and whatnot. We tried to just casually ignore these obstacles and walk over the fences as if they were nothing. Suddenly, we came upon a security guard and his Rotweiller (with muzzle removed). He approached us. I casually explained (in my best French) that we were just trying to walk along the beach and how frustrating it was that all of these tourists were here ruining that, etc. He nodded and said we could pass through AS LONG AS we continued to pass through. No stopping.
Well, you can't say that and not expect a person to be curious as to why they can't stop. So we stopped. We soon realized that we were in the middle of a paparazzi feast! I gathered bits and pieces of what was going on. I heard Angelina Jolie was coming. I thought it was odd that all of these photographers were here just to see her "arrive." I was under the impression that she was out on a yacht somewhere and was just arriving at the festival. Still, Angelina Jolie? Sure, we'll stay for that! So now, here we are.
We decide to pull out our festival badges and turn them around backwards so that we would at least look official. Suddenly, an American woman approaches us. She asks if she can share our "spot." Fine by us! We weren't even supposed to have a "spot." She then tells us that she had reserved a space further up the pier, but that some French photographer had come and sneakily placed his camera bag on top of hers, thereby claiming the space as his (I don't know, I don't speak paparazzo, but I guess that's how it works. Aspiring paparazzi- don't leave home without a very large camera bag). We sympathize. She's grateful. Now we have a "buddy" to hang out with. We are looking more and more official! She tells us some alarming things about the life of a paparazza (which she insists that she is not- she is a professional photo-journalist and the company that she works for just sent her here). She informs us that you can get a cool million for a "first kiss" photo or (as we have recently learned from the subject of this blog post) a first baby photo. It's somewhat eye-opening. No wonder they are so crazy. All you need is one good photo per year (or even your whole life) and have it made in the shade!
A Canadian videographer pops up out of nowhere. He works with the woman. He tells her that he got the whole conflict on tape and that they will use it to prove what a jerk he was. He then introduces himself to us. He is covering the film festival for AMC. He wants us to do a "spot" for the non-existent (yet) film that we have been pushing. Okay. I'm not wearing any makeup, I didn't bother to do my hair, I'm wearing half a bathing suit under some dirty shirt (hey, this was supposed to be a beach day) and here I am, talking to AMC about a film we haven't even made yet! Still, I'm being interviewed. That seals it. No security guard is going to bug us now!
The excitement starts. The energy shifts. We follow the examples of everyone around us and raise our little "point and click" camera up amongst the giant Nikon cameras with telephoto lenses! They say that size doesn't matter, but in this situation, I would have to argue with that!
There she is! Ah ha! It turns out that she is NOT just coming in for the festival, but that she is doing a promo for "Shark Tale!" She was there with her little boy who watched gleefully as she put on a life vest and then...sat on an inflatable shark attached to a speedboat! Can you imagine having this on your schedule for your work day?
A buff, handsome man in sunglasses gets on in front of her. The circumference of his arms makes me think, "ah ha! Bodyguard." A kind of large, disheveled man gets on behind her. The circumference of his belly makes me think, "um, press agent?" The boat starts up and the three of them begin slowly circling in the water for the cameras! It was somewhat surreal and funny as hell (all three of the shark riders were laughing, too):
But wait a second! Why is the bodyguard waving and making peace signs? And why is the press agent hamming it up, humping the shark and singing "Shaaark Taaaaaale!" I look at the poster for the film. Hold on! That's no bodyguard- it's Will Smith! And the guy on the back is not a press agent, it's Jack Black! The press show continues with screaming photographers.
Jack Black, the former press agent, jumps off the shark. The French police come to fish him out (you can't have an American movie star die in French waters- it just looks bad)!
The shark docks and its passengers disembark. The energy falls. The photographers are abuzz- chatting about the incredible shot they got, etc. We begin to leave. This has been an energetic and fun diversion, but we want to relax! On the way out, Carl grabs my camera. He tells me that he has a feeling that they are going to walk down the pier and stop to pose. I give him my camera. He strategically places himself. Sure enough, they stop. Well, Will Smith and Angelina Jolie stop. Jack Black is still swimming around in the water:
Here comes Jack:
It doesn't take the paparazzi long to realize that Carl has snatched the best spot. He is soon beaten over the head. Okay. We've had enough. This is fun, but it's not worth bleeding for!
We walk up the stairs to leave the press fiasco. We are surrounded by curious and eager people. There were literally hundreds of people watching excitedly, trying to get where we happened to be. We felt like movie stars ourselves!
And yes, Will Smith really is hot. Yes, Jack Black really is goofy and funny. And no, Angelina Jolie is not as pretty in real life as she is in the movies. She's actually more beautiful!