Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cannes - Part The Last

For some inexplicable reason I thought going to Cannes was going to require a great deal of nudity. I'm really not sure why. It was just like, "Cannes? Everyone's naked there, right?" So I became uncharacteristically obsessed with the notion that I needed to be tan before I could go and be nude at what I pictured as a large, non-stop beach party with celebrities, supermodels, and furry European men in thongs, smoking cigarettes.

I should begin by pointing out that there is no natural process by which my body tans. I go directly from pasty white to cancer with no stops in between. And I've been told that both ends of the spectrum are hard to look at. So, before we left I literally went to have someone paint me a different color.

This is not a horror story about coming home to discover I'd turned orange. Just the opposite. In fact, I'll just say it. I looked AWESOME! Imagine a big, glowing, nearsighted, glass of butterscotch pudding coming at you. THAT was me.

But as you leave they warn you that the tan only lasts up to 7 days, depending on how much you shower. I said, depending on how much I shower? And the woman said, "Sure, every time you shower or sweat or forget to moisturize, you're going to lose some of the color." Thus began my effort to move very slowly through France without showering.

I'd be climbing a flight of stairs with our bags and feel a bead of sweat getting ready to run down my forehead and I'd picture it bulldozing away my precious tan paint, and I'd stop, breath deep and ask Amy where the moisturizer was. Eventually she carried most of the bags and I planned an itinerary that mostly revolved around air conditioned spaces.

Despite my efforts, there comes a point where people stop looking at your carmel skin like they want to eat it and begin looking at you like you must have a lot of cheese stashed in your pockets. What I'm saying is, even in France, there comes a point where you have to shower. And when I showered, it was like Samson going to Supercuts, my beautiful butterscotch power just running down the drain. I moisturized like I was oiling up for the championship round in a mud wrestling match, and still, by the time we actually got to La Croisette in Cannes, I was merely off white at best.

Cannes is hard to comprehend, no matter how tan you are. Imagine taking the Oscars, putting it on the beach, and then making it last eleven days. Now add a ton of yachts, cigarettes, and charge 20 Euros for a beer and you've more or less got the picture. When you have a film screening, you spend a lot of your time moving from place to place in a line of black cars. For Amy and I this also meant we spent a lot of time getting out of those cars and disappointing throngs of people who were hoping to see someone famous. You feel obligated to shout, "I'm sorry" as you exit the vehicles to people holding out a picture of Clarice Starling to be autographed.

The red carpet thing is a whole other level of ridiculous that I'm more or less at a loss to explain. Again, you're mostly just in the way of people's efforts to photograph and scream at celebrities. But when you get to the top of those steps and you turn around and look out at the sea of photographers and fans extending endlessly along the streets and into the alleys, it's such a surreal experience, I felt incredibly lucky not just to have wandered into it, but to have had my best friend next to me as I did.

After, we had dinner with the film's delegation and then took boats out to a billionaire's yacht as fireworks papered the sky. The yacht had celebrities, a helicopter, a submarine, and an open bar, all of which proved a dangerous combination. At some point I became obsessed with the idea of getting Jane Fonda to sign a bottle of hairspray, and could only be talked out of it with promises to 'go see the submarine again.'

I guess the part I sort of glossed over is the screening itself. As you probably know, the film has come out here in the states and been met with some very positive reviews, some very negative reviews, and approximately 37 paying customers, most of whom are probably related to me in some way. Based on my experiences with Lone Star and The Beaver, as far as I know all opening nights are followed by a phone call from someone the next morning who begins the conversation by saying, "Well, look, I'm not going to sugarcoat this." What I'm saying is, it has flopped.

Knowing this made the strange experience of following it to France even stranger. Add to that Mel Gibson making his first real public appearance for the film, on the red carpet, moments before we screened, and I think it was fair to say that none of us had any idea what sort of reaction we'd get. What everyone does tell you, over and over, is to be prepared as the audiences there don't hide their feelings, routinely booing and walking out when something isn't to their liking. Imagine taking a test where the instructor could shout things at you as you filled in the blanks, and you kind of get the idea.

I'll be completely honest, even as the last frames rolled I had no idea how it had gone. My only gauge had been to watch Naomi Campbell's head two rows in front of me for signs that she had nodded off. She seemed awake and alert, which I took as a good sign. I was ready to take out and ad that said "Does Not Seem To Put Supermodels To Sleep." And then the lights came up, there was applause, Jodie stood, and suddenly everyone else was on their feet as well. I've read that the standing ovation lasted ten minutes. I have no idea if that's accurate. What I can tell you is that it went on for an almost uncomfortably long time. Jodie seemed to think that maybe it was just continuing as some sort of cue for her to leave, but when she tried to take a couple steps, the festival director stopped her and said "No,", indicated the crowd, and then said, "They'll tell you when they're done." They weren't done. Not for a while.

So look, I don't really know how to explain the intersection of all the good and bad that surrounds the movie. You could love it or hate it and I wouldn't argue with you either way. The bottom line is I'm back to being the same sickly pale I've always been, I probably won't ever see another red carpet, and it seems unlikely that the movie will ever be considered a success. But given that it began as a story I just wanted to scratch out before I had kids and needed to get a real job, and three years later landed my wife and I a front row seat as people applauded for it in the south of France, I'll probably have trouble seeing it as anything else.

15 comments:

Steven said...

Loved reading this post. Congrats on the film, Cannes, and all that comes with it. Sounds like an experience of a lifetime.

yourblindspot said...

What an amazingly cool experience. And what a golden opportunity to dust off your Ripley-Nixon gestation French, too (despite the surprising lack of tetons).

Adam said...

As someone who has recently started a family and is in the process of finding a "real" job (and wondering what's going to come of my previous decade and a half spent putting words on paper), I'd say "success" is understating it.

I temped at a certain crowning entertainment company a while back, when they were wrangling with the logistics of said amphibious rodent movie, and while I was just a temp and only saw suggestions of it all from afar, I read a LOT of scripts during that time, and yours is one of two that gut-punched me. And we're talking about a film that got made because of the writing, not because of the high concept, the one sheet, or your uncle/sister/Dad.

Life is what happens, blah blah blah. I can't imagine your "other plans" having been even as good as the shit that's turned your grass-on-the-other-side an admirable shade of green.

ps. So does are you going to have to commute being TX and LA again for Awake?

Esther said...

congrats Kyle! Sounds so cool, you are so deserving. Proud of you!

jfa32 said...

The only thing I find hard to believe is that you got a spray tan!?!

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that The Beaver is going to become a cult classic. Good luck! - Fellow twin mommy.

Limey said...

You sound like a pompous twat.

Katie Held said...

I doubt this is the appropriate forum, but I just watched the Awake pilot and wanted to come pay my respects. It is an amazing, intriguing pilot with so much soul already apparent. Your portrayals of men with double lives really are something. I wish you all the best when it premieres for real and I will be doing everything I can to get people to watch!

Thank you for your writing!

Denny said...

I would like to contact Kyle with a story line Idea if he would be interested.
Never loose thought of story lines...

BooM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noah said...

The Beaver was one of the most intense experiences I've ever had watching a film. Thank you for making it. I want to hire you to head-write a sketch comedy show that a successful production company has pitched to my comedy troupe. Get in touch if you're interested. It'd be a while before it got off the ground.

SHISHIR GUPTA said...

At the right time, someday Mr Kyle Killen will read this -
Sir, Here is a Story you can use-
Ross holding his coffee cup enters the office lobby and finds a mid twenties girl waiting outside the office. He opens the door and asks the girl to come inside along. A few minutes later Clark comes in watches a girl sitting on the sofa, Ross explains to clark- This is Jane and wants to work for Mr. Kyle Killen as a substitute writer and for the same she wants our help.
Clark looks towards the girl smile and realizes the response smile was more of shouting – “ITS TRUE IDIOT!!! “
Clark sits on his knees and in a sarcastic tone says to the girl –
Do you know what you are talking about?
We are Just his creations, what you do see on screen of a tele is only 10% of his total imagination.
““””””””Mr. Kyle Killen”””””””””””” !!! Is The One!!!!

If you have read till last word of the above statement, I will suggest you to scroll down to know more.

SHISHIR GUPTA said...

Clark continues- This cannot be done! You are talking about playing game with the mind of a person who actually plays with the minds of so many people?
Ross jumps in the middle of the conversation – ‘ clark! What happened to your always so up optimism of changing the Fate and changing the world.
Clark defends himself- The only way for her to work for Mr. Kyle Killen, is by making him aware of the deep psychological games designing capability of Jane in front of Mr. Kyle Killen. And ross, every individual has a ‘level’ and no matter what, we cannot reach level of Mr. Kyle Killen! we just have na├»ve noise. We are doomed !
This suddenly gives an IDEA jane and she says- We don’t even have to reach the level of Mr. Kyle Killen deep ideas, because Even Mr. Kyle Killen would have to also resist to produce to the depth of his own thoughts as general audience will not be able to absorb it, even he would have to try to keep his level a bit low.
Ross says –Jane take a pen and a paper and start writing.
Jane- but English is not my first language and I am too bad at writing. That’s it ! now we have to write a story with or without grammar?
There was a dead silence in the room for 4 minutes.
Clark thought - I always wanted someone to write my words as even my speed of speaking of words lags and hinders the speed of thoughts and it was even more tough to write. Total 3 steps!! Come on, I am not doing it.
Ross was imagining meanwhile – it is going to be tough today, handling two different streams of thoughts and processing at the same time.
And after thinking for those 4 minutes jane said – I think we should not bother about how we represent our story to him because I surely do believe he is the only one who understand the value of a material instead of its design, he reads The true value, not the perceived value.
Carl asks the girl- and now what you suggest how we deliver this story to such a busy man. There are thousands of people like us willing to submit their story and to bother him in some way or the other. What are the chances he would read your story.

SHISHIR GUPTA said...

Jane says – close to none.
Ross takes the talk ahead- Clark now tell me under what should be attributes of this story which will increase the chances of such story to be liked by Mr. Kyle Killen?
jane interrupts - We cannot try the ‘increasing in the number of senses involved here, neither we can increase the level of senses individually or combined, so that trick is out guys.
Clark in a disappointing tone says- Come on girl it is the basis of our 80 percents of the tricks.
Jane says – I have an idea – We will send him this story via internet on one of his contacts which he rarely opens. And because the forgotten accounts are opened only when we are free, there are chances he may read the full story. So though we may not increase the combination and intensity of his senses we will at least get a complete not so noisy calm situation. And hence we can get his full attention.
Ross questions – But are you aware that your ‘this destiny story’ idea will reduce the chances even more?
Jane replies – Oh come on guys ! He is a real person and we are three noises inside my own head and he is kilometers away.. do we have another choice? I am ready to wait for countless years to him to read the story, and I just want him to read it, and I wish he does not contacts me back ever, so I will live my life ‘full of hope’, even on the last day of my life. I will wait for a miracle for the first time performed by a mortal with my all faith in the destiny and its chosen intermediaries.
Also I have realized after learning from the lecture of Dr. Robert Sapolsky – that most of the time in life “Anticipation is more beautiful than the actual reward”. But this reward for me would be beautiful because every day I will wake in anticipation of “How his ideas will amuse me today!!”.
And this is also a possibility that he may one day read it and wonders - Was this person really wanted to work with me?
And those years, there will be only one way for him to know the truth.
You know in what I liked the most in t.v serials
To know, Scroll down. . .






































To Be Continued …

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