Michael Moore, the visionary documentary maker, has the big hit at Cannes this year with Bowling for Columbine. Ostensibly a film about guns and violence in America, Moore — who is most famous for his film Roger & Me — has caused a sensation at this year's film festival. His film includes interviews with students and families in Littleton, Colorado, who were affected by the mass killings at Columbine High School.
The recently revived United Artists films, headed by Bingham Ray, bought the film for a bargain price $1.5 million.
Moore's film is an unflinching look at gun violence that doesn't necessarily advocate gun control.
But Moore told me yesterday that possibly the most controversial part of the film was left on the cutting room floor.
"I interviewed Dylan Klebold's parents," he said. "In the end I thought it was a different film. I didn't feel good about using it. So I left it out."
Klebold and his friend Eric Harris went on a killing spree at Columbine High before committing suicide.
Moore said, "You can imagine how they feel. How would any parent feel?" He declined to comment on whether or not the Klebolds feel any responsibility for their son's actions. He did say that in the unused interview they talked about a lot of "misinformation" regarding Dylan.
"The idea that Dylan picked the date of the killings because it was Hitler's birthday, that's ridiculous," Moore said. "People don't realize the Klebolds are Jewish. That would not have been Dylan's reasoning."
Bowling for Columbine may wind up as the first documentary nominated in the general Best Picture category at the next Academy Awards. It's the first doc in competition in Cannes since 1956.
Michael Keaton won't be doing any Batman sequels. But Beetlejuice? He's ready to roll.
Keaton was here at Cannes with actress Lili Taylor to promote a new HBO Films feature they're shooting in Europe. HBO Films, run by Colin Callender, has now become a primary force in the movie business. They have several films here. On Tuesday night they gave the most elegant dinner so far by the pool at the Majestic Hotel.
Keaton, looking tan and fit, told me it wasn't true that doing the two Batman movies had wiped out his interest in movies. "I loved doing them. They wanted me to do the third one, but I wanted to do it a different way — more the way Spider-Man has been done."
Instead, Keaton took time off to have a life. He doesn't regret it. Now he's got a movie with Michael Caine, the new HBO project, and several ideas. One of them is to make the sequel to Tim Burton's Beetlejuice.
"I've talked to Tim about it. You have to remember that a lot of what we did was made up as we went along. A script would never reflect what we would shoot. All that stuff that everyone likes is us riffing."
Keaton said that if Warner Bros. would give them the green light, he and Burton are ready to try and do it. So my message to Warner's is: what are you waiting for?
What about the cliffside villa that belongs to Thierry Klemeniuk, who owns the three internationally popular Man Ray restaurants?
When people aren't going to movies here, this is the discussion.
Klemeniuk is emerging as the Steve Rubell of the new millenium. His Man Ray eateries include celebrity partners Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn. The pair go to all of Klemeniuk's parties and attract even more A-list names. At Cannes, entrance to his beachside villa requires climbing over a train trestle and then descending a metal staircase onto a flagstone patio. But if the doorman will let you in, it's worth the workout. Beautiful people are in abundance, the deejay is excellent, and there's lots of champagne and chocolate cake.
Already every single star on the Croisette who is mobile made it over the trestle while the trains go tooting by. (Pun not intended.) Record mogul Damon Dash — looking sharp in a designer suit and diamond earring the size of rock candy — livened things up with an appearance. Dash is getting into the movie business in a big way.
The other night both Leo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz helped agent Rick Yorn celebrate his birthday. Yorn has recently split from Mike Ovitz and taken his clients to a company called The Firm. But as readers of this column know, Yorn was sued last year by the bankruptcy receiver for Dana Giacchetto's Cassandra Group. The receiver claimed that Yorn had accepted $1.3 million in cash from Giacchetto to buy a house.
The pair claimed the money was from a stock deal. The receiver claimed the stock deal was a lie, and that Giacchetto had taken the money from client's accounts to pay off Yorn. Yorn settled the case by paying the money back to the receiver. One of the accounts Giacchetto took the money from to pay Yorn was from Cameron Diaz. Nevertheless Diaz has remained loyal to Yorn, as has DiCaprio. One wonders if she reads the newspapers. But loyalty is a virtue in Hollywood, and should only be commended.