On the Scene at Cannes: Day 3

Hollywood.com is on the scene at the 55th Cannes Film Festival, seeing the films and sipping with the stars. Check in every day to get the latest!

Day 3: There is more than An American in Paris in France– the Hollywood ‘hood is here in droves, with the exception of Leonardo DiCaprio and his Gangs of New York, who aren’t expected until Monday afternoon.

Just north of the Palais is The American Pavilion, which has been a Cannes-teen for temporary expatriates since 1989. It is a charmingly huge cabana just off the Croisette, offering shade as well as free, although occasionally shaky, Internet access.

The area on which tables are set up extends out above the sea, where American Italian chef Mario Batali serves up Mediterranean fare all day long. Everyone is welcome, including–or perhaps especially–actress Faye Dunaway. Wearing casual slacks and a purple t-shirt, she whirls about, peering over her eyeglasses and doing some serious networking (or maybe rehearsing for the role of a producer in her next project).

The baking sun had risen well past high noon when the crowds dashed to the American Pavilion to catch a glimpse of Christina Ricci, expected to pay a visit. Batali, a star in his own right thanks to his Food Network show Riviera Fantasy, had just seen her three weeks ago in his New York City restaurant Babbo, and was very excited to say hello again. “I am a strong believer in American cinema, especially their protagonists because they are so cool and talented, and it’s great to see them in real life!” said the charming chef.

The crowd went berserk as the (currently) brunette Ricci sauntered in, slinging reporters a smile and peering back over her shoulder as if she was in on the best secret in the world. She had come to the fest for tonight’s world premiere of her movie The Gathering. In this supernatural thriller, she plays Cassie, an American backpacker in rural England who has a horrible accident. When she encounters some sinister strangers during her recovery, she can’t tell what’s real and what’s hallucination.

Ricci was dazzling in fire-red lipstick and ’70’s blue eye shadow, and looked to have done some serious dieting! In skintight jeans and a long-sleeved, black half-top, she will soon be giving Calista Flockhart a run for her money.

Director Michael Moore doesn’t have that problem. In fact, he actually looks thinner on

camera! Today he ambled up the red carpet like a slow-moving bear to present his controversial tour-de-force documentary Bowling for Columbine. Raves for the film can be heard up and down the Croisette.

In just three days the energy and excitement has already built to an incredible high, with so many films, meetings, complaints about slow service, endlessly ringing cell phones, name-dropping and just too many parties every night. The noise is deafening. And fun. Everything happens at once. As the sun finally decided to call it a day, the sounds of popping corks echoed up and down the beach.

A lovely champagne and dessert reception was thrown at the Majestic Terrace overlooking the harbor by husband and wife team Ted Hartley and Dina Merrill to celebrate the grand winner of their film writing competition. Acting since the early fifties with legends like Alfred Hitchcock and Bob Hope, Dina is the daughter of stockbroker E.F. Hutton, and her mother’s first husband is Glenn Close‘s grandfather. Ted was a regular on Peyton Place.

At the party, a glowing Melissa Joan Hart was hiding from the glare of the setting sun. “I’m just here enjoying myself,” she said with a smile, before leaving with two friends. She was one of the presenters for Monaco’s Laureus Humanitarian Awards, where she got to spend the day hanging out with Prince Albert and Michael Jordan.

As the reception wound down, the next shindig fired up as the band got ready. It’s the hot-ticket after-party for Woody Harrelson, Alicia Silverstone and John Cleese‘s new movie, Scorched. They play disgruntled bank employees who unknowingly all decide to rob their bank on the same day.

…another day has stolen away along the Croisette!