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A rising star checks in

BY GEOFFREY MACNAB A Royal Affair star Alicia Vikander is in Cannes, taking a break from filming Sergei Bodrov’s The Sev- enth Son with Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges in Vancouver, to pro- mote her forthcoming film, Hotel. The movie is directed by Lisa

Langseth, who also directed the fast rising and versatile Swedish actress Vikander (who happens to be a former ballet dancer) in her breakthrough role in Pure. The new film is an absurdist

psychological drama about identity crisis in which Vikander plays Erica whose perfect life in Stock- holm is shattered after a cata-

Alicia Vikander

strophic event. “She is pushed into starting group therapy. There, she meets other traumatised charac- ters. Instead of digging into their problems, they decide to create that perfect personality… they check in to the hotel as the personality they want to be,” says Vikander, who promises a film that is “heavy” in

Doherty in new role confession

Bonnie Wright

Top dogs vie and die for Cannes glory

BY SARAH COOPER Taking place at the UK Film Cen- tre at 1pm tomorrow, this year’s Palm Dog Awards, which honour the stars of the canine world, looks set to be a little more morbid than usual. Three of its contenders — the dogs from Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt and Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers — were dra- matically killed off on screen. “It might be said that this year

the theme for dogs is RIP — Rover in Peace — as hounds continue a tradition of making the ultimate sacrifice for their art. But though they die on-screen deaths, viewers can be assured the animals were not harmed in any of the scenes,” says Palm Dog organiser Toby Rose, who has renamed this year’s event the Diamond Jubilee Palm Dog 2012, enlisting Bonnie Wright (aka Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter films) as this year’s Palm Dog Pin-Up girl. “Sadly the Palm Dog team cannot guarantee that nomi- nees that do not scoop prizes with not be left without bruised feel- ings,” adds Rose.

UK rock star Pete Doherty hit the red carpet this week for Un Cer- tain Regard entry Confession Of A Child Of The Century, in which he makes his on-screen debut as a decadent 1830s roué. And it looks like the former Lib-

ertines singer has more acting roles in the pipeline, as he revealed he has been approached by French director Philippe Grandrieux to star in his next project. “He [Grandrieux] said he wrote

it with a picture of me on his desk. That was quite flattering. “We went out for a little stroll by

the canal. He told me about this character — an English guy who comes to Paris, a real crackhead

Confession Of A Child Of The Century

who falls in love with all these women.” (We can’t think what attracted him to Doherty…) Despite the fact Grandrieux’s

movie will have “more sex and more drugs”, Doherty has not yet committed to the film. “I am thinking about it,” he told Screen.

its themes but will bring a few laughs along the way. Vikander’s international profile

is bound to rise yet further this autumn with the international release of Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina, in which she co-stars as Kitty alongside Jude Law’s Alexei and Keira Knightley’s Anna. The young Swede speaks in awe of both Wright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard. “Joe Wright is known for gather-

ing his own crew and almost work- ing like a theatre. He [Tom Stoppard] came in on the first day and sat on his stool. We all sat on the floor and he started to talk for two hours, about his inspiration for how he started to work on the project” she enthuses.

Produced by Anurag Kashyap and Guneet Monga’s Anurag Kashyap Films, Vasan Bala’s debut feature Peddlers revolves around an intelligence officer, a boy and a drug mule living in Mumbai. The film is screening in Critics’ Week and is being sold by Elle Driver.

How does it feel to be in Cannes? A bit surreal — it hasn’t hit me yet. I still think I’m here to watch films.

How did you become a film- maker? I come from a very conventional Tamilian Brahmin family, so was supposed to be a doctor or an engineer, but couldn’t do any of that. I just floated around until I came across [website] Passion For Cinema, which Anurag [Kashyap] used to write for. One day he gave me the keys to his house and told me to watch films, read books. He makes a lot of films, so we all contribute in any way we can.

What is the inspiration behind the story of Peddlers? An article I read — ‘Peddlers of

Meet the debutants VASAN BALA, PEDDLERS

Death’ — about terminally ill patients being employed by drug cartels to carry their drugs. I also had a random idea about a cop chasing a little boy and somehow the two stories got merged together and became the film.

How did you finance the film? I’m quite bad at pitching so I was fortunate to have people around me who could do all that. Guneet posted a message on Facebook and eventually we got a response. Onir [director of crowd-financed film I Am] was our inspiration, but his study said you need a reputation, or some body of work, and I had none. But Guneet is well networked and has a lot of friends.

Did you shoot it guerilla style? That’s the only way with Anurag because even if we get permissions, we don’t want permissions, so we had to be very careful to choose cast and crew that weren’t OCD. I learnt from him that you can rewrite every scene if the location isn’t with you — or if the actor doesn’t turn up, you can put his character under a blanket and say he is sick.

What else have you learnt at Anurag Kashyap Films? I’ve met a lot of great people like Michael Winterbottom who came to India to shoot Trishna. We get a little emotional about directors in India — when Anurag is on set, the crew treats him like a rock star. But working with Michael was detached and objective, so you don’t focus on the actor or the director, you focus on the film. Liz Shackleton

BACKPACKPORTMANTEAU Australian sales company ScreenLaunch is in Cannes to sell The Owner (pictured above), a global collaboration which has set a Guinness World Record for having the most directors (25) of any feature. The brainchild of Detroit-based company CollabFeature, The Owner follows a backpack across five continents. With the film set to premiere simultaneously in 18 cities tomorrow, its star (the backpack) was in Cannes yesterday for a beach photocall. Unlike most of the stars in Cannes, we imagine its pictures didn’t need retouching.

n 4 Screen International at Cannes May 24, 2012


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