FOR the Hollywood glitterati, it is a rare opportunity for the world’s most esteemed film stars to pass judgment on their peers.
But Ewan McGregor has conceded that he has done no preparation for his coveted role as one of the jurors who will decide who takes home the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Crieff-born actor is one of a nine-strong panel responsible for judging the films at this year’s festival, and choosing the winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or prize.
Speaking yesterday at a press conference to launch the 65th festival, which features a strong Scottish contingent, the Trainspotting star said: “I looked through the programme when I arrived and had unpacked all my suits. I lay on the bed and had a look and went ‘f****** hell, there’s some good stuff in here’. But apart from that, I haven’t swotted up on anything.”
McGregor, whose fellow jurors include Red Road director Andrea Arnold, actress Diane Kruger, and fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, said it was an “enormous honour” to be part of the panel, but said he was not seeking to settle scores.
“I don’t feel like I’m in some position of great power. There’s no feelings of revenge,” he said. “It’s just a celebration of film.”
The festival, which runs until 27 May, opened with Wes Anderson’s new film Moonrise Kingdom, which stars Scots-based star Tilda Swinton alongside Bruce Willis and Bill Murray.
Swinton said she was “so happy” to be part of the cast and a member of the “family” Mr Anderson has spent years creating.
Among the films in the running for the top prize are David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Walter Salles’s adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel On The Road.
Also in contention is The Angels’ Share, Ken Loach’s bittersweet comedy set in Glasgow. Penned by Paul Laverty, the film features a host of new talent, including the lead actor, Paul Brannigan, who was cast with the help of Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary.
In an interview with the festival organisers, Mr Laverty said: “Kenny MacAskill, an old friend with whom I did my legal apprenticeship nearly 30 years ago, suggested I meet a senior police officer who was running the violence reduction Unit in Strathclyde [Police], a man called John Carnochan. I asked John to put me in contact with anybody who was working on a football scheme and one of the many fascinating characters I met was Paul [Brannigan]. He was a very bright lad, and thoughtful.”
This year’s event will also see the screening of five movies from the James Bond canon in recognition of the franchise’s 50th anniversary. In an interview with Variety to publicise the anniversary, Sir Sean Connery credited the “enormous” contributions of Dr No director Terence Young and praised him as a “bon vivant” who was always elegant and fashion savvy.