CANNES – If it's opening day at the Cannes Film Festival that means it's time for another awkward press conference with the competition jury. Typically, a Cannes jury is comprised of nine directors, actors and artists from all over the world who have often never met each other beforehand and have no intention of tipping their hands that they might actually already be looking forward to seeing particular films in the competition. The good news is that you can always count on a few members of the international press corps to ask some silly questions or get their facts so inexplicably wrong (guys, “Mad Max: Fury Road” isn't in competition) you wonder how they got credentialed in the first place.
The 2015 edition of the festival features a jury headed by former Palme d'Or winners Ethan and Joel Coen (a rare two-headed jury president). Also on hand are Guillermo Del Toro (who, like Ang Lee last year, could easily be a jury president in his own right), Xavier Dolan (jury prize winner for “Mommy” in 2014), Sienna Miller (star of global blockbuster “American Sniper”), Jake Gyllenhaal (encroaching on top five “Why doesn't this person have an Oscar” status), Sophie Marceau (French actress who jumped the pond for “Braveheart” and “The World is Not Enough”), Rossy de Palma (made her name in Pedro Almodóvar's early films) and Rokia Traore (popular Malian singer most Americans have never heard of). An eclectic group for sure, but definitely a jury not afraid to face the media (it might help that many of them have experience with the HFPA).
Keeping that in mind, here are some things we learned from the approximately 30 minute long extravaganza.
Joel and Ethan Coen do not hate TV
The original creators of “Fargo” both had puzzled looks on their faces after a member of the media asked about reported negative comments from the duo on television in general. Ethan Coen noted, “I doubt that we said that because I don't think that. I just don't watch it. It's alien to me. I haven't watched a television show in decades.” Joel Coen added, “You are going to get me in big trouble by the way, because my wife just did a mini-series for HBO. We don't watch a lot of TV. It's not that we don't like it. In our minds it's a somewhat different thing.”
Xavier Dolan just can't stay away from Cannes and we think it's a problem
Dolan revealed, “I'm shooting a movie in 12 days time,” but still had to say yes to being on the jury. We're sure his financiers and producers are overjoyed at his decision. (We're hoping it was just a misquote in the translation. It has to be, right?)
Sienna Miller and Guillermo Del Toro are fighting over the special jury prize
Ethan Coen revealed that when the jury met for the first time yesterday they were informed that they could create a special jury award of their own choosing. Admitting he might be speaking out of school, Coen then said Miller asked that she be presented with the award, with Del Toro insisting he should get it before her. Obviously, that won't be happening (they were joking), but just another example about how Del Toro is always right.
Guillermo Del Toro quickly realized the Cannes press corps doesn't have a sense of humor
Before answering a question on why being on the jury was important to him, Del Toro joked, “When I came here I didn't have hair on my ears, which was catastrophic after 40.” It was a line that would kill at Comic-Con, but the Cannes media were clearly not paying attention. Del Toro went on to note, “I know how important it is for any filmmaker to get recognized. I know we are not here as a panel of stern judges who are not saying what is good or bad…we are here to take it seriously because people in the competition deserve to be taken seriously [and] to be given the forum they deserve.”
Jake Gyllenhaal had a natural reaction when asked if he would participate
“I was thrilled about seeing any films before anyone in the else in the world could see them,” Gyllenhaal said. “And free, too!”
We all forgot Sienna Miller wasn't at Cannes for “Foxcatcher” last year
“I'd never been to Cannes,” Miller said when asked why she agreed to be on the jury. “I know that's a boring response, but I just can't wait and see these amazing works.”
Look for complete coverage from the Cannes Film Festival over the next 10 days on HitFix.