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Cannes Special Report: Indiana Jones Invades Cannes

[IMG:L]The world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull became the hottest ticket in Cannes Sunday night, as the packed audience gave an enthusiastic standing ovation, cheering Steven Spielberg, George LucasHarrison Ford and cast.

The area outside around the famous red carpeted steps of the Palais was virtual gridlock with extremely dense human traffic ground to a halt just trying to get a glimpse of the Indy Cannes festival raiders.

[IMG:R]Early Internet buzz, fueled by Ain’t It Cool News, had created doubt about the quality of the movie, but the audience seemed to dig it and many critics–including yours truly– were enthusiastic. In fact at the earlier press screening the sound of young French voices singing the signature Indiana Jones theme music could be heard as the lights dimmed.

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The day before the whole group had done a boatload of press interviews and an invitation-only cocktail party for press at the Carlton Hotel’s Le Cote bar. 

[IMG:L]Spielberg was besieged by reporters following him around the room and seemed to enjoy the attention. Ironically, the baseball cap he was wearing said simply, “Relax” which were words he seemed to embrace despite the pressure of opening the summer’s most eagerly anticipated movie, a continuation after two decades of the Indiana Jones franchise.

After spending about 40 minutes being moved about the room in what seemed like a journalistic group hug, Spielberg was whisked away by an aggressive French producer who kept saying , “he must get to live TV broadcast”. A few steps down the Croisette , Spielberg immediately found himself the subject of a breathless Canal Plus “Le Grande Journal” TV show broadcast all over France.

[IMG:R]Meanwhile a genial Ford told us he was at peace with all the hoopla and “filled with anticipation” about the ensuing Indy mania.

“I’m ready,” he said.

Double Oscar winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) said it was a great ride and that Ford did all but two of his own stunts.

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[IMG:L]Executive producer Kathleen Kennedy, a key partner of Spielberg’s since the days of E.T., which came to Cannes in 1982, said the idea of simultaneously screening the film in Cannes and the U.S. came from Steven and with the worldwide web waiting to pounce it seemed like a good one.

“He thinks it should just get out there , everywhere, all at once so everyone can get their opinion in at the same time,” she said.

“What other way is there to do it in this day and age?”

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