Nicole Kidman in Cannes. (AFP)
Cannes, May 15: A Nicole Kidman visit to India to promote Grace of Monaco?
Uday Chopra, dressed for Cannes in a white suit, pink shirt and shades, does not want to build up too many hopes but a trip by Kidman to India before the film is released in mid-June hasn’t been ruled out completely.
“You know Nicole Kidman….”
Well, actually, I don’t…..
“She is busy but we are talking to her,” said Chopra, whose family firm, Yash Raj Films, is the movie’s principal backer. “She’s interested.”
Apparently there was quite a party last night after the gala screening of Grace of Monaco, which had the distinction of opening the festival. There was a standing ovation at the end.
So what was it like walking down the red carpet with Kidman?
“Well, we are a film family…” began Chopra, meaning back in India the family of the late Yash Chopra, who were now in charge of Yash Raj Films, know anyone who is anyone. But to be at the centre of events in Cannes?
“It was surreal for me,” admitted Chopra.
At the inauguration of the Indian pavilion in Cannes today, actor-turned-producer Chopra talked about the genesis of the film. Now based for part of the year in Los Angeles, where he runs YRF Entertainment, an offshoot of the family firm, he heard of the script, tracked it down and read it — “I said I want it.”
“At that stage Nicole Kidman wasn’t attached to the film though people were talking to her,” Chopra added. Compared with Hindi blockbusters, the film will have a relatively limited release in India, but because Yash Raj Films is involved, “we are going to give it a push”, promised Chopra.
Alongside him was his head of development in LA, Jon Reiman. The plan is for Chopra and Reiman to make two or three movies for the global market. In other words, take the battle against Hollywood in Hollywood. Almost to a man, Chopra was congratulated by Indians who have seen Grace of Monaco — though it has been panned by many western critics. When it was suggested that the film has almost an Indian feel, Chopra nodded: “Perhaps that’s why I loved the script.”
The script is the work of an Iranian, Arash Amel, who grew up in Wales. He, too, was on the red carpet last night and deservedly so. He told The Telegraph that the idea of writing a script came to him while watching the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011.
Some commentators found that Kate reminded them of Princess Diana. And thinking of Diana, Amel was reminded of Grace Kelly. He then discovered no one had actually done a movie on the Hollywood star who married a prince. After much research, the first draft of his script was ready in six weeks. But Princess Grace’s moving final speech at the Red Cross Ball, which won the day for “little Monaco”, which had been threatened with annexation by President de Gaulle of France, “required 25 drafts”.
The version of the movie that will be shown in India will be the cut made by the French director Olivier Dahan.
There won’t be a separate cut by the US producer Harvey Weinstein — if he does make any slight alterations, it will be with the agreement of Dahan, Amel clarified.
It was reported today that Weinstein has agreed to take essentially the director’s cut but will pay Yash Raj Films $3m instead of the $5m that had initially been agreed.
On learning that the film had not gone down well with the Monaco royal family, the Geneva-based businessman Prakash Hinduja today offered his services as Kissinger-type peacemaker.
“Had I known you were making this movie, I would have got you all the facilities — I know the royal family very well,” he said.