Cannes, May 16 (Reuters): For the ladies, the main attraction this year is Keanu Reeves. For the men, Penelope Cruz is the big draw.
And they’re ready to do whatever it takes to catch sight of them — fans from all over the world descend on Cannes every year and happily spend days leaning up against metal crush barriers just for a 10-second glimpse of their favourite star ascending the red-carpeted stairway.
Boston boutique owner Evelyn Bakon-Wheeler crossed the Atlantic to get a peep at Keanu Reeves, in town for the world launch day of Matrix Reloaded.
“My dream would be a kiss from Keanu,” she told Reuters. “My friends said they were afraid of travelling over from the US but I said hey — it’s worth it for Keanu.”
Friendships blossom outside the Palais des Festivals where the most devoted fans even take their annual summer holidays, camping out all day with their collapsible garden chairs.
For some it is their first time. “I am a festival virgin but the atmosphere here is great,” said Yolyn Sim from Singapore. “My ideal would be to meet Tom Cruise or Colin Firth.”
She shares a dormitory room at a Cannes hostel with Australian Eve Parsons, a diehard fan.
“It’s like an addiction for me,” she confessed. “This year my main reason for coming to Cannes was to see Meg Ryan who is on the film jury this time. I think Hugh Grant or Jude Law would be my ideal date if I got to choose.”
Ardent French fan Agnes Favier said: “I take my holidays to see this. My dream would be for Keanu Reeves to give me a kiss.”
The stargazers eagerly clutch their disposable cameras and wave their autograph books as the limousines sweep up to disgorge legions of actors outside the Palais des Festivals.
Male fans were given plenty to cheer on opening night when Spanish actress Penelope Cruz arrived for the premiere of the French costume drama Fanfan La Tulipe.
But the stargazers were delivered one crushing blow — her beau, Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, had stayed at home.