Cannes Film Festival: Nicole Kidman Defends Grace of MonacoBy: Shana Norris - May 14, 2014
Actress Nicole Kidman gently addressed criticism of her new film Grace of Monaco on the opening day of the Cannes Film Festival.
“I feel sad because I think that the film has no malice toward the family or particularly towards Grace or Rainier,” said Kidman, who stars in the film’s titular role.
“I want them to know that the performance was done with love and if they see it I think they’d see there’s an enormous amount of affection for their parents and for the love story of their parents.”
The controversy over the biopic film, which started more than a year ago, involves the question of how a specific period of French-American cultural history is portrayed on the big screen.
Set in the 1960s, Grace of Monaco features as a central storyline France’s attempt to annex Monaco and claim its tax revenue. Monaco’s Prince Rainier III, who ascended the throne in 1949, played a key role in the resolution of the crisis, creation of a revised constitution, and restoration of Monaco’s national parliament.
Prince Rainier III married American actress Grace Kelly in 1956. Their children constitute Monaco’s reining Grimaldi family: Caroline, Princess of Hanover; Albert II, Prince of Monaco; and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco.
The Grimaldis didn’t hesitate to express their displeasure over the film:
“The trailer appears to be a farce and confirms the totally fictional nature of this film. The Princely Family does not in any way wish to be associated with this film which reflects no reality and regrets that its history has been misappropriated for purely commercial purposes.”
To further complicate matters, the film’s US distributor, Harvey Weinstein has been involved in an ongoing dispute with its French director Olivier Dahan.
The original version Dahan delivered to Weinstein was deemed incomplete and “too much like a Hitchcock thriller and too little like what they anticipated – a yarn about a princess in a gilded cage.”
Weinstein cut his own version and now wants a renegotiation of the agreed-upon rights fee with the film’s financier to mitigate the additional costs Weinstein Company has incurred.
Later, disputes intensified, this time over the film’s rollout. In January Weinstein called off the film’s March release, dashing the French filmmakers’ hopes that it would pave the way for a successful European release later in the Spring. Shortly thereafter, Weinstein further angered by the news that Cannes would open with the French version.
Weinstein didn’t attend the Cannes premiere, instead issuing the following statement:
“My wife, Georgina, and I have been in Jordan visiting two Syrian refugee camps, Al Zaatri yesterday and Azraq today. This was a long-planned trip with the UNHCR” – the United Nations refugee agency – “and our friend Neil Gaiman to bring attention to the plight of refugees who have been forced to flee Syria and the incredible work of UNHCR.”
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