Behind the scenes at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday:
TANKS, MUSCLES AND TRAFFIC CHAOS: Question: What do you get when you put tough guy stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson together on the French Riviera, plonk them on a couple of tanks and send them out along the Cannes seafront? Answer: total mayhem.
The ageing movie stars rolled into Cannes on Sunday on top of two tanks, parading down the chic seaside promenade to promote their film “The Expendables 3″.
They were escorted by overwhelmed-looking French police as people in their hundreds mobbed the vehicles, seemingly oblivious to the very strong risk of being flattened.
At one stage, both tanks had to make a U-turn to return to the luxury Carlton hotel forcing the driver to undertake yet more tricky manoeuvring.
Police desperately worked to remove a portable car barrier that was about to get knocked over by the hulking vehicles as a man in what looked like military uniform atop one tank screamed at people to get out of the way.
Ford looked on in bewildered amusement while a delighted Stallone snapped away on his smartphone.
EXPENDABLES FOR ABDUCTED NIGERIAN GIRLS: After a fun-filled morning of riding tanks and cracking jokes, the cast of “The Expendables 3″ took a far more serious tone on the red carpet when they brandished signs sporting #BringBackOurGirls.
Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Banderas, Ford and others held up the signs to the cameras, joining global calls to free 223 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militants in Nigeria last month.
Mexican star Salma Hayek and French actress Julie Gayet did the same thing on Saturday’s red carpet, publicly taking a stand for the schoolgirls using the now world-famous hashtag on Twitter also promoted by US First Lady Michelle Obama.
FROM THE EAST END TO CANNES: Turkish actor Haluk Bilginer stars in the weighty Palme d’Or contender “Winter Sleep”, but he remains best known for something slightly less arthouse — his 1980s role as the womanising Mehmet Osman in the long-running British soap opera EastEnders.
“Winter Sleep” — based on three short stories by Anton Chekhov — is all a far cry from Walford, the fictional part of London where EastEnders is set and where Osman ran a greasy spoon cafe in the days of Angie and Den, Pat Wicks, Pauline and Arthur Fowler.
One reviewer described the more than three-hour-long “Winter Sleep” by director Nuri Bilge Ceylan as a “richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus”.
An episode of EastEnders in which Bilginer appeared, on the other hand, sounds just as engrossing albeit a touch less ravishing.
A Radio Times magazine listing still available on the Internet gives this super-concise synopsis: “Pat’s intent on causing trouble for her ex-husband. She tells Pauline exactly what she thinks of him. Pauline, loyal as ever to her brother, slaps Pat.”
“Winter Sleep” is the bookies favourite to win the Palme d’Or this year.
PALME DOG: The bravura performance of Yves Saint Laurent’s French bulldog Moujik in the biopic of the fashion designer’s drink-depression-and-drug blighted life will surely be recognised by Cannes’ spoof Palme Dog awards.
In the film, Saint Laurent dotes on the miniature breed canine but inflicts inexcusable suffering when he spills pills on the floor during a binge.
Moujik promptly hoovers up the lot with predictably fatal consequences.
Saint Laurent gives Moujik an expensive marble gravestone and lays beautiful flowers, but dog lovers will not be impressed. It is not known if the story is true.
HEAVEN KNOWS I’M A MOVIE STAR NOW: Films about famous people have been the talk of Cannes with Princess Grace of Monaco, Yves Saint Laurent and painter JMW Turner all getting their own biopic this year.
Next year could it be the turn of the more contemporary figure of Morrissey, former lead singer of iconic 1980s band The Smiths.
Known — like all truly famous people — by only one name, Morrissey’s autobiography was published last year and sold like hotcakes.
“Morrissey” divided critics with Britain’s Telegraph calling it “maliciously memorable” and The Independent talking of “droning narcissism and whining self-pity”.
All rich material for British film-maker and writer Mark Gill who will direct the unauthorised film entitled “Steven”, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter.
The film will cover Morrissey’s pre-Smiths life “growing up in bleak Manchester, England, and his triumph over an alienated childhood to become the cult star he is today”, it said.