Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco/Photo © Stone Angels
As if the Cannes Film Festival needed a little more glamour, the event’s organizers have just announced the Grace Kelly biopic “Grace of Monaco” as this year’s opening-night film. While the choice may seem a tad on-the-nose, given that the tiny principality is a mere hour drive up the coast from Cannes, the story’s mix of classic Hollywood and romantic fairy tale is certainly fitting for the most regal and star-besotted of the world’s film festivals.
The film, which was shuffled out of 2013 awards consideration because it wasn’t finished, is directed by Olivier Dahan, whose 2007 biopic about Edith Piaf, “La Vie en Rose,” scored star Marion Cotillard an Oscar for best actress. In the new film, the gorgeous actress-turned-princess is played by Nicole Kidman, whose last trip to the Croisette, in 2012, for Lee Daniels’s adaptation of Pete Dexter’s The Paperboy, entailed the much less dignified onscreen display of taking a leak on Zac Efron. At the very least, this year’s appearance should involve fewer embarrassing questions from international journalists.
Kelly only made eleven movies in the 1950s before moving on at age twenty-five to her second career as royalty by marrying Prince Rainier III (whom she met at — wait for it — the 1955 Cannes Film Festival). But that short span included starring roles in the classic Western “High Noon,” the war drama “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” and a trio of classics from Alfred Hitchcock — “Dial M for Murder,” “To Catch a Thief” and “Rear Window” (Kelly also found time to win an Oscar for “The Country Girl”). For a comprehensive primer on the leading lady’s life, Donald Spoto’s 2010 biography High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly, offers a unique telling that includes interviews with Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.
Last year’s festival was adaptation heavy — it opened with Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby and Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” based on Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, won the Palme d’Or from the jury led by Steven Spielberg. The 67th annual Festival de Cannes will run from May 14-25, 2014.