International Insider: Cannes You Feel It; Strike Week Two; Piers Vs The Prince

International Insider: Cannes You Feel It; Strike Week Two; Piers Vs The Prince

Good afternoon Insiders, Max Goldbart here, and with Cannes just a few days away we’ve got plenty for you to digest in this week’s newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Cannes You Feel It

Final weekend arrives: Film execs are frantically packing suitcases, polishing pitches and tying down meetings, in between squeezing in haircuts or getting their nails done, as the countdown for the 76th Cannes Film Festival and its Marché du Film enters its final weekend. More than 12,500 cinema professionals will descend on the Croisette this year, with the Marché du Film head Guillaume Esmiol telling Deadline this week that the event will likely break its attendance record of 2019 – in a sign the pandemic is well and truly over. One of the biggest returning territories will be China, with more than 250 professionals registered to attend against just 55 in 2022. Liz expertly explores what this might mean for business in this analysis piece. Another key question is how the U.S. writers strike will make its way across the Atlantic to the French Riviera.  Directors and actors may address the issue in their press conferences and it remains to be seen if any further action will be taken out of solidarity.

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Hot projects: The raft of hot projects unveiled by Deadline this week suggest the package market is not being impacted either. Spicy ones include Johnny Depp’s Modigliani biopic, Daisy Ridley-starrer Cleaner, Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Ruth Negga-starrer Night Boat to Tangier and this huge scoop from Andreas Wednesday on Frankie Goes to Hollywood biopic Relax, starring It’s a Sin’s Callum Scott Howells. Fancy a few more: How about Elizabeth Banks and John C. Reilly’s Dreamquil, this Shailene Woodley/Cara Delevingne-starring biopic about Patricia Highsmith and a Maria Callas biopic led by Angelina Jolie. Plenty more to come.

Preview: Within the festival, more than 100 features representing the best in U.S. studio pictures and international independent production will world premiere in Cannes Film Festival and its parallel section of Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, running May 16 to 27. Highlights in terms of star wattage and expectations are Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon and Indiana Jones and the Dial Of Destiny, while the competition gathers Palme d’Or winners Nanni Moretti (Il Sol Dell’Avvenire), Ken Loach (The Old Oak) and Nuri Bilge Ceylan (About Dry Grass) alongside newbies including Kaouther Ben Hania (Four Daughters) and first film director Ramata-Toulaye Sy (Banel And Adama).

Controversy: Maïwenn period drama Jeanne du Barry, starring Johnny Depp in a French speaking role as Louis XV, opens the festival on Tuesday. The movie is billed as Depp’s big screen comeback after three years in the wilderness while he battled ex-wife Amber Heard in the courts, winning a defamation trial against her last summer. However, the focus on Depp has shifted to its director Maïwenn in recent days after she confirmed in a live TV interview this week that she had assaulted a leading French journalist. In the relentless churn of Cannes, even something as  shocking as this might be old news by the time the film world premieres on Tuesday, as the 4,000 journalists covering the festival move on to a fresh set of films and issues. The Deadline team will be on the ground and reporting back. Bookmark this page for coverage. Catch you on the Croisette!

Vertigo Reaches New Heights

Hello, hello (bonjour): Vertigo Films has been on quite the journey. From cult indie films like Football Factory to bigger budget fare, to a TV pivot and a buyout by French media giant Federation, James Richardson, Jane Moore and Allan Niblo’s company is certainly used to transformation. In their first profile interview since the Federation sale, the trio spoke with Diana about the advantages of being part of a European conglomerate, picking themselves up again after seeing three shows axed by Sky, and transposing an indie film finance sensibility onto the TV sector. “Broadcasters are going to need to spend less as budgets are too high at the moment so going down the indie film financing route seems a likely path,” Richardson told Diana. Dive deeper.

Strike Week Two

Pickets, Chanel & hit squads: It’s hard to believe it’s only been rumbling for just over a week. The disruption over in Hollywood is already beginning to feel tinged with a semblance of normality as shows shut down in their droves and big names at the likes of AMC Networks and Disney respond to the strike, which could last for months. Our tireless LA team have been on the ground bringing you the latest from the picket lines, including this fascinating report from Dom Patten detailing confusion around whether scribes could attend Chanel’s Paramount event, and Peter White’s exploration of how a WGA hit squad is shutting down Hollywood one day at a time. Coverage can be read here.

Around the world: Outside the U.S., the fledgling Guild of Screenwriters in Ukraine became the latest international body to throw its weight behind the WGA’s plight “unconditionally,” as it detailed support in a statement shared with Deadline. While stressing “there is practically no such thing [as a collective agreement] in the Ukraine,” the 41-strong GSU run by The Sniffer scribe Andriy Babik said it is here to help. The GSU was formed last year “during an air raid,” Babik told Deadline. Protests also spilled out beyond the U.S., reaching as far as Belgium. Impromptu activity sprung up outside the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPA) HQ in Brussels and writers including The Bridge’s Nikolaj Scherfig and BAFTA-winning scribe Gail Renard, the treasurer of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, were there to offer support. “We’re a creative bunch, so when the MPA invited execs up on the roof to see the sunset we thought we’d spoil the view,” said Renard. Keep your eyes trained on as we continue to bring you the latest from a dispute that ain’t ending anytime soon.

Piers Vs The Prince

You heard: Sparks, get ready to fly as a trial in London’s High Court featuring Piers Morgan and Prince Harry gathers pace. Former CNN anchor Morgan was once again facing questions this week about his involvement in phone hacking during his time editing the Daily Mirror tabloid between 1995 and 2004. Morgan denies Harry’s assertion that he “must have known” about illegal voicemail interception during this time, in a trial reigniting the phone hacking debate that led to the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. It is by no means the last of its kind, with similar actions against The Sun and The Daily Mail incoming from the Prince and others. Rather than trying to shift attention elsewhere, TalkTV’s Morgan instead responded to the allegations by posting a screenshot from a Season 26 episode of South Park, in which characters resembling Harry and Meghan embark on a “worldwide privacy tour.” He also found time to brand Succession “vegan TV” sans Logan Roy. Reminder: Morgan, Harry and Meghan have plenty of history after Morgan left his role on ITV’s Good Morning Britain having stated he didn’t believe Markle’s comments that she had considered suicide during her time in the UK. The incident remains regulator Ofcom’s most-complained-about TV moment of all time.

Motive And The Queue

Broadway calls?: Over to Breaking Baz where our roving International Editor At Large brought more news of Sam Mendes’ smash play The Motive and the Cue, which stars Johnny Flynn, Mark Gatiss and Tuppence Middleton as Richard Burton, John Gielgud and Elizabeth Taylor respectively, telling the story of Burton’s 1964 Broadway performance in Hamlet. Broadway could well come calling, Baz writes, while he reveals discussions are ongoing with the cast about a transfer to London’s West End. For all the latest, and for Baz’s recollection of his jovial meetings with Gielgud, check out our latest Breaking Baz.

The Essentials

🌶️ Hot One: Gerard Butler’s Has Fallen film franchise is getting the TV treatment.

🌶️ Another: A Benjamin Zephaniah TV biopic is in the works from Daniel Lawrence Taylor and Baby Cow.

🌶️ Another: Brazillian International Emmy winner Pedro Vasconcelos is forging a Portuguese-Brazilian drama series about the romance of two 17th Century soldiers.

🚫 Banned: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from addressing this weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest.

🪑 Chair: Richard Sharp remains in the headlines as the BBC finds he broke its Code of Practice.

🖊️ Signed upBad Education’s Layton Williams, with WME.

🤝 Done deals: BBC Studios and Mood producer Bonafide shook hands.

🏆 Awards latest: Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine is set for a Locarno Honorary Award.

👄 Loose lips: Around 4,000 people complained to the regulator after Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh described Britain’s Royal Family as “terribly white.”

💸 Tax credit: Australia has increased its Location Offset for international film and TV productions from 16.5% to 30%.

🤚 Slap on the wrist (again): For GB News, which broke Ofcom rules once again relating to Covid-19 disinformation.

🍿 Box officeGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 rocketed past $300M global.

⛺ Festivals: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is set for a rebooted Taormina Festival with Harrison Ford attending.

🎥 Trailer: For Run Rabbit Run starring Succession’s Sarah Snook.

🖼️ First-look: The Doctor Who teasers keep on coming, this time Jonathan Groff goes Victorian.

Mel Goodfellow contributed to this week’s International Insider.

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