Did my very best to clean up last night to go the annual amFAR benefit at the Moulin de Mougins restaurant. This is a serious Cannes tradition, braved only by those strong of heart, full of cash, and able to tie a bowtie. (Hey! At least I fill the bill on the last of those!)
It’s an SERIOUS scene, equal parts glamour and grotesque — with all the money going to AIDS research. Here’s how it works: Everyone trundles up to this spectacular restaurant in the hills above Cannes. There’s a cocktail party beforehand that the famous people tend to stay away from, though I did see jury member Toni Collette lurking in a corner. And then everyone is herded into a huge tent where the stars make a grand entrance. (There’s George Clooney! Goldie Hawn! Matt Damon!) It’s all gorgeous and for a good cause, but the star of the show, the one person not to be missed, is Sharon Stone, who takes the stage and plays auctioneer, pimping luxurious baubles for the obscenely rich. Up for auction this year? Private tennis lessons with Monica Seles, a walk on role in a Susan Sarandon movie, a $120,000 Chopard diamond necklace, and a small Malaysian island chain known for its exquisite mangoes. (Okay, I made that last one up.)
It was sweltering. It was ridiculous. But what the hell, they raised about $7 million bucks for AIDS research — so that’s got to be good. (Note to my incredibly handsome and understanding editors: I can expense that tennis lesson, right?)
One other piece of news from Cannes. The Julian Schnabel movie, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly— the true story of a French magazine editor who suffered a massivestroke that left him with only movement of his left eye — became THEhot film to buy. Missy and I had been hearing rumors for a day or sothat Miramax was on the verge of snapping it up — and, well, they justdid. That makes a heck of a fest for Daniel Battsek and his crew, whoalso have a Palme d’Or favorite in the Coen Bros.’ excellent No Country for Old Men. Stay tuned.