May 24, 2013

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CANNES—It’s raining, the stars are hiding, the hacks and paparazzi are waterlogged and frustrated, and the shimmering images of the beautiful people walking up the red carpet are just that—images of glories long gone. The Cannes Film Festival used to be a glamorous affair when I was a young man. I remember the brouhaha when a French wannabe starlet ripped off her bra and showed her assets to Robert Mitchum, reputedly the most intelligent actor of his time by far. He raised his eyebrows and congratulated her. He was walking alone on the Croisette without heavies or PR pests clearing his way. No one bothered him.

That was then, and this is now, and now stinks. It stinks almost as much as the Gatsby movie, although some think the latter is the worst thing to come out of Hollywood since Paris Hilton. She is also here, trading on her great talent for, I suppose, having such an ugly horse face.

“That was then, and this is now, and now stinks.”

So why am I here? As I wrote last week, my film Seduced and Abandoned is being shown a day after I write this, which means a star may have been born by the time you read this. I can see the headline in Nice-Matin: “Une Étoile est Née.” Not bad for a 76-year-old, plus I just finished a documentary for Graydon Carter along the lines of My Dinner With Andre, but in my case it’s called My Lunch With Reinaldo. And, eat your heart out fellow Pugs member Sir Christopher Lee—I am filming Sex School this summer, playing a janitor. Who knew that Taki would become a major star in his mid-seventies? But back to Seduced and Abandoned.

It is a nonfiction film, a hybrid between an adventure narrative and a documentary. Alec Baldwin is the main star along with Ryan Gosling, Jessica Chastain, Marty Scorsese, Coppola, Polanski, and Bertolucci. I play myself, mostly on my boat, and I was described as having an exotic, mysterious eroticism that sizzles. (And if you believe that, you’ll believe that other political parties except UKIP will offer the British people the choice of a referendum.) What has been written about Seduced and Abandoned has been up until now pretty great. The dreadful New York Times called the movie “A Blast.” The New York Observer said it was “Just wonderful, a great performance by Ryan Gosling and James Toback reading Updike’s poem.” Showbiz411 writes that “Toback has made an honest imposing film which is going to be hot stuff.” No one deserves it more than Jimmy Toback, who along with the producer Michael Mailer has turned the greatest Greek writer since Homer into a major Hollywood star. If only my new fame had come earlier it might have stopped the deputy editor of The Spectator leaving me standing at the church and running off with another. But vengeance is mine.


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