Instep Today

Hollywood, in pictures

By Maheen Sabeeh
Sun, 05, 24

A look back at some of the biggest headlines in entertainment this week, from the GLAAD Awards 2024 to the Cannes Film Festival.

Hollywood, in pictures

“Anything I can do in the future to really put the spotlight on women, to give women a greater voice, is a clear

priority for me right now.” –

 Cannes Film Festival president Iris Knobloch

Iris Knobloch, the current president of Cannes Film Festival has a clear mission. She is fully aware that Greta Gerwig may have directed the hugely popular film, Barbie, but that doesn’t mean Knobloch thinks women have taken over the film world, especially behind the camera and she said so during an interview with Variety during the ongoing Cannes Film Festival.

“I knew it had to be a priority for me, and now I feel it even more. I think the festival really had to wait 75 years for a woman to be here. And in today’s world, I realize that it’s a very important subject to address. A lot of progress has been made. For example, the percentage of films submitted to the short film category is much higher than the percentage of films submitted to the competition. The same goes for the movies that come from film schools. So we’re starting to feel that women are more daring and more confident, and we’re also maybe entrusting them more because it goes both ways. But at the same time, I’m sure you’ve read this study in Hollywood which says that despite the success of Barbie, women seldom have access to big budgets. Obviously, with everything that’s happening around #MeToo, I’m convinced that we want to see and hear women’s stories. We saw it with Barbie, so anything I can do in the future to really put the spotlight on women, to give women a greater voice, is a clear priority for me right now.”

Meryl Streep honored with Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival

Despite the usual flurry of photocalls, jury meetings, and parties, the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which kicked off on May 14 in France, was particularly abuzz with excitement due to the presence of acting legend Meryl Streep. Miss Streep received the Honorary Palme d’Or, adding a special significance to the opening ceremony, which also featured the premiere of the film, The Second Act. Following a montage showcasing her career highlights, Meryl Streep was presented with the award by French actress Juliette Binoche, who noted, “You changed the way we look at women in the cinema world.” Greeted by a lengthy standing ovation, Miss Streep accepted the award with her characteristic humility and humor.

Films to watch at Cannes 2024

This year’s Cannes Film Festival boasts a lineup of highly anticaipated films. These include Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, directed by George Miller and starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke, Megalopolis by Francis Ford Coppola featuring Zendaya, Adam Driver, and Shia LaBeouf, Kinds of Kindness led by Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Margaret Qualley with direction helmed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Other major films include David Cronenberg’s The Shrouds, Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice (starring Sebastian Stan as Donald Trump), and a musical, crime, comedy called Emilia Perez with Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldana.

Jane Fonda’s ‘The Second Act’ opens Cannes Festival

While the opening film, The Second Act, starring Jane Fonda, didn’t receive unanimous critical acclaim, it did receive a standing ovation of over 3 minutes, garnering some attention.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis opened at Cannes

After the opening ceremony of Cannes Film Festival where women were shining in the spotlight, the next day was about the man who gave the world two of the greatest mafia films (The Godfather I and II). Sadly, though, since then, he has been trying to outdo those two films or even match their combined success, and while he did come close with Apocalypse Now, every production he has touched after that period has been a disaster. But this year, he has brought a science fiction film called Megalopolis to the world’s most famous film festival in France. His choice of actors is not as baffling, but what is baffling is that they all agreed to star in the film. Those who came to boost the film at Cannes include names such as Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Nathalie Emmanuel, Chloe Fineman, D. B. Sweeney, Giancarlo Esposito, Laurence Fishburne, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Grace VanderWaal, Kathryn Hunter, and Talia Shire. Mr. Francis Ford Coppola was joined by his granddaughter Romy Croquet.

Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that Mr. Coppola’s behavior on the set of the film was hardly appropriate, as he pulled women to “sit on his lap” or kissed “them on their” cheeks or the extras on the sets during the recreation of certain scenes during the Studio 54 club era. He said that it was all in good spirit, but I doubt the women thought so, or they would not have called the behavior misconduct. Defended by one or two female members of his cast, this code of misconduct did prompt a representative of Mr. Coppola to refer to a statement made by a Megalopolis’ executive producer, Darren Demetre, which was released to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project,” Demetre told The Hollywood Reporter in response to reports which were first released by The Guardian that alleged that Coppola demonstrated “old school” bad behavior around women on the set of his own film, Megalopolis.

“I have known and worked with Francis and his family for over 35 years,” Demetre said. “As one of the first assistant directors and an executive producer on his new epic, Megalopolis, I helped oversee and advise the production and ran the second unit. Francis successfully produced and directed an enormous independent film, making all the difficult decisions to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget, while remaining true to his creative vision. There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film. I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project.”

It seems that since the #MeToo movement broke out in 2016, some things may have changed, but others, still haven’t. A case in point: Mr. Francis Ford Coppola.

Adam Driver and Audrey Plaza with director Francis Ford

Shia x Jon

Greta Gerwig leads Cannes jury

Greta Gerwig, the rising star director of Barbie, is president of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival jury. She’s joined by a distinguished panel including Turkish screenwriter and photographer Ebru Ceylan, American actress Lily Gladstone, French actress Eva Green, Lebanese director and screenwriter Nadine Labaki, Spanish director and screenwriter Juan Antonio Bayona, Italian actor Pierfrancisco Favino, Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu, and French actor and producer Omar Sy.

Gerwig was also present during the opening night ceremony where Meryl Streep was honored.

Red carpet hit: Renee Rapp

Simple elegance can be a powerful choice on the red carpet. Renee Rapp exemplified this at the 2024 GLAAD Media Awards where she donned a simple black suit and heels, turning heads for its subtlety. Rapp won Outstanding Music Artist for Snow Angel.

Many may recognize her from her portrayal of Regina George in the film adaptation of Mean Girls, a role she originated on stage. This performance caught the attention of Hollywood executives, including co-writer Tina Fey, leading to her casting in the film adaptation. With a successful music career and a breakout film role, Rapp’s future career holds exciting posibilities.

#MeToo echoes at Cannes Festival 2024

Multiple news agencies have reported that there’s a strong possibility of actors coming forward during the festival to accuse European filmmakers of sexual misconduct. There are concerns within French cinema, particularly due to rumours of “a list of individuals including actors/directors/ producers” who might face #MeToo allegations. Cannes president Iris Knobloch has reportedly hired an agency for crisis communication in light of these rumours. This comes amid a fresh wave of #MeToo accusations in France, sparked by actress and filmmaker Judith Godrèche speaking up about alleged sexual abuse by director Benoit Jacquot (who has denied the allegations).

Godreche will be presenting her short film Moi aussi at the festival, which tackles the issue of sexual violence. The festival, in a press release, stated their aim for the screening is to ‘give resonance to these testimonies’. The potential impact on French and European cinema remains to be seen. However, similar movements in Hollywood and British productions have resulted in high profile accusations, dropped representation, and legal repercussions for some individuals.