(Clockwise from top left) A combination of pictures shows Ukrainian prankster Vitalii Sediuk being blocked by bodyguards as he tries to put his head under actress America Ferrera’s dress at the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2 in Cannes; Sediuk being pinned to the red carpet; a distraught Ferrera (in white dress) being consoled by Cate Blanchett, and Sediuk being pulled away from Ferrera after the incident. (AFP)
May 17: It is the most famous red carpet in the world, with Hollywood stars preparing for hours to have their glamorous pictures beamed across the world.
So spare a thought for actress America Ferrera, who was left looking shaken after being targeted by a prankster who launched himself towards her and put his head up her skirt.
Ferrera, the Ugly Betty actress who stars in How to Train Your a Dragon 2, had been posing for photographs with colleagues Cate Blanchett and Kit Harrington when the stranger dived onto the red carpet and lifted up her dress.
The interloper, later identified as notorious Ukrainian prankster Vitalii Sediuk, attempted to put his head inside her voluminous white dress in front of the world’s press.
He was removed by security as Ferrera looked on in confusion. Her co-star Blanchett, the double Oscar winner, glared at Sediuk as he was taken away, as Game of Thrones actor Harrington took Ferrera’s arm to reassure her.
After taking a moment to compose themselves, the cast continued with the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2 without further mishap.
Ferrera, who rose to fame in as the lead role in the successful US television series Ugly Betty, appeared to shrug the incident off by the time the after party came around, and was seen relaxed and laughing with guests
It is not the first time Sediuk has targeted a red carpet event.
In 2012, he attempted to repeatedly kiss Will Smith on the lips at the premier of Men in Black 3, earning himself a gentle slap in the face.
He has also been photographed awkwardly hugging actors Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio, crouching to waist height to leave them uncomfortable.
Earlier that day, Blanchett has spoken of the perils of the red carpet, with close scrutiny leaving her occasionally feeling like “merchandise”. She had told a press conference: “It’s a little bit rude to look a woman up and down like that, and when a camera does it, it’s a bit annoying.”
There could hardly have been a bigger cinematic tent than the Palais des Festivals venue in the Mediterranean seaside town where How to Train Your Dragon 2 got a special screening alongside Turkish director Nuri Ceylan’s masterly competition entry Winter Sleep about an intellectual bully who runs a “Hotel Othello” in the snowswept Anatolian steppe.
The one brought Hollywood glamour, even of the animated variety, to a festival that is a bit short on that front. Fans wearing Viking helmets with huge horns meandered across La Croisette, Cannes’s palm-lined boulevard, ahead of the film’s global premiere.
Cannes-regular Ceylan’s searing study of a former actor convinced he is always in the right took its time to unfurl to a gripping climax, played out in a snowstorm, in a film that is a strong favourite to win the Palme d’Or on May 24.
“Master at his work again, he is truly the most contemporary master I have ever seen,” said film critic Sunil Doshi of the The Mint, who was among the packed cinema audience who gave the film a standing ovation. “It’s amazing, just awesome.”
The audience response to the film by Ceylan, who won a best director award at Cannes in 2008 for his Three Monkeys, came a day after British director Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, based on the life of the pre-Impressionist English painter JMW Turner, got a resounding rave from critics.