Cannes featured some Hollywood history when Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels worn in Cleopatra returned to the red carpet. The occasion marked the 50th anniversary of the film, and this time the Bulgari jewelry was worn by Jessica Chastain. The highlight of the jewels was the the sapphire-and-diamond “sautoir” – which features a 65-carat center stone. The piece was bought by Richard Burton for Taylor’s 40th birthday. Bulgari repurchased the jewels at auction in 2011, and rarely loan them out.
In 2011, Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn (seen above) delivered a knockout with Drive. The two returned this year with one of the festival’s most anticipated films, Only God Forgives. The story follows Gosling, a drug dealer in Thailand who is seeking revenge for the death of his brother. The film is dark and ultra violent – described by one critic as a ‘slow-motion bloodbath’. And the response from critics? All over the board. Some have loved it, others have hated it (there were quite a bit of booing at the initial press screening – and even some walkouts). Others are in between – one reviewer calling it a ‘beautiful disaster’.
In film news, Barry Levinson has been tapped to direct a love story loosely based on the best-selling novel The Cursed Piano by Chinese author Bei La. The film takes place over 40 years between Leningrad and Shanghai.
The Weinstein Company has won the bidding for the Keanu Reeves-Reese Witherspoon sci-fi romance movie Passengers. The film will get a wide release in 2014.
Critics and fans are bemoaning the fact that Steven Soderbergh’s Behind The Candelabra is debuting on pay cable (HBO) in the United States, thus making it ineligible for the Academy Awards. Stars Matt Damon and Michael Douglas would be serious contenders for best actor if it was a theatrical release. Douglas is especially drawing raves for his portrayal of Liberace.
Speaking of Soderbergh, the director insists he is retired for the foreseeable future.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.