‘Sicario’ with Emily Blunt as FBI agent brings drug wars to Cannes

20 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CANNES WATCH: Star-studded Calvin Klein event honors women.

CANNES, France — The Cannes Film Festival is coming under scrutiny for its strict dress code after women not wearing high heels were turned away from a premiere. Few can play the modesty game as well as a Canadian, but U.S. actor Josh Brolin handily triumphed over Quebec’s Denis Villeneuve while discussing the director’s newest film, Sicario. Many are criticizing the festival after Screen International reported that several middle-aged women were refused entry to Sunday’s premiere of Todd Haynes’ ’50s lesbian romance “Carol” for wearing flats. “Everyone should wear flats, to be honest, at the best of times” said Blunt, who was there to premiere the Mexican drug war thriller “Sicario. ”You kind of think that there’s these new waves of equality.“ Director Denis Villeneuve joked that he and his male stars, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, would wear heels to the evening premiere of “Sicario” in protest. The third English-language film from the 47-year-old director follows a female FBI agent (Emily Blunt) over three days, as she gets involved in a black ops mission with two mystery men (Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro) to track down a Mexican cartel leader.

The gilded guest list of top actresses used the glamorous event on the grounds of a private mansion to speak out about equality — and perhaps show off their designer clothes. “You’ll have a hit movie that women are at the forefront of and people are like ‘Oh, it’s all changing.’ And then I feel like it resorts back to what it was before … But if I didn’t, short of getting a mention in the fashion mags for being horribly vertically challenged, would I expect to be thrown off the red carpet?-Mexican border, and the film’s moral ambiguity immediately suggested comparisons to such female-centric dramas as Silence of the Lambs and Zero Dark Thirty. It’s bulls***.” Women shouldn’t feel like they need a doctor’s note to wear shoes that don’t make them want to chop off their feet in agony by the end of the night. I know I’m here because of these guys.” Brolin wasn’t having any of that, however. “When I saw the movie I thought: He knows exactly what he wants.

I don’t watch enough films and I think I’ll be watching a lot more, because I’m absolutely loving it, seeing that much cinema,” said Miller, who shimmered in a pearl silky gown with sporty straps. The dust-up is particularly awkward for Cannes because this year’s festival has been marked by considerable discussion about gender equality in the movie industry. It’s so laughable, it almost seems unbelievable, but the event has quite rightly caused outrage in France, fashion circles and, of course, on Twitter.

While Thierry Fremaux, head of the festival, tweeted on Tuesday morning that the high-heels rule was “unfounded”, individual security guards can often be overzealous in enforcing Cannes formal red carpet dress code. At the press conference following the Sicario morning screening (where the media can dress any way they want) Blunt described the episode as “very disappointing” at a time when there are “new waves of quality” in women’s movies. The women – some of whom were said to be older with medical conditions who committed the ‘fashion’ crime – were attending the world premiere of Cate Blanchett’s new film Carol. Villeneuve, the Oscar-nominated director of Incendies who made his English debut in 2013 with Prisoners, said that other producers had been wary of Sicario’s script and wanted screenwriter Taylor Sheridan to change the lead character to a man but he had embraced the script as it was. And though there don’t appear to be any rules on heel size, the very fact that someone has been asked to leave the red carpet for wearing flat ones, is just ludicrous.

Blunt plays FBI agent Kate Macer, who joins a U.S. team – including nebulous “defence advisors” played by Brolin and del Toro – on a heart-pounding raid across the border to extricate a high-level cartel leader. The ultimate aim, as Brolin’s character puts it: “Shake the tree and create chaos.” Blunt’s character is very much our way into this world; she’s as confused as the audience will be in the early going. Yes, we all love the glamour, and yes, we all love to see the fashions, but woe betide the day someone decides it’s not OK to wear a shoe of a certain height, even if they are encrusted in rhinestones. I thought I was doomed [to make it] because when you fall in love, you have no choice.” Sicario is Villeneuve’s second film after Prisoners with legendary English cinematographer and 12-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins (best known for his work with the Coen brothers).

Villeneuve said the producers had the “guts” to insist that it remain a female character, though he clearly found it ironic that such an argument still needs to be made in 2015. Blunt has done her share of action films, mixing what might be termed traditional roles (Into the Woods, The Five-Year Engagement) with more badass characters (Looper and, especially, Edge of Tomorrow.) “I found this character quite damaged and vulnerable,” she said of her role in Sicario. “She’s trying to maintain face for most of it.” She said the female FBI agents she spoke to in preparation for the part were “real girls … They go home and watch Gosford Park and Downton Abbey. You would want to have a beer with them.” Villeneuve, a writer/director on such early films as Polytechnique and the Oscar-nominated Incendies, has worked as director-only on Enemy, Prisoners and now Sicario. “I’m a very, very slow screenwriter,” he explained, “and my appetite for cinema is huge right now.” His next films are Story of Your Life, about a linguist (Amy Adams) in contact with aliens, and an untitled sequel to Ridley Scott’s science-fiction classic Blade Runner. I did it without any compromise and total freedom and the fact that that has been recognized on the other side of the ocean is quite unique.” Blunt, the 32-year-old English actress who first came to public attention opposite Meryl Streep in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada, has now worked with two Quebec directors who have graduated to the top of the Hollywood food chain.

He said he had originally turned down a part in Sicario. “Usually when you’re not sure about a film it turns out very bad,” he said. “Denis is a great, wonderful man to work with – because the film turned out good.” I say the same thing to Jean-Marc.” Brolin, who plays Matt, a nonchalant military “consultant” who keeps information close to his vest, says he initially turned down the role. He had been working on back-to-back films and wanted a break but came on board when both Blunt and cinematographer Deakins urged him to reconsider and made him feel “appropriately stupid” for his initial short-sightedness. Villeneuve has been telling people that it’s his best film. “I say that, not just because of the film itself but because of where I want to go and what I want to do as a director, which is to bring people together and try to bring the best out of them.”

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