“It’s nerve-wracking! I was shaking, a little bit,” says Molly Sims about walking the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. “I do this for a living, and I was slightly nervous!” Sims explains that while photos may do the Cannes red carpet justice, nothing prepares you for the real deal. “It’s crazy. As magical as it looks in pictures, it’s even more magical being there. The prestige is not lost on me.”
Lucky for the model-turned-actress, the intimate atmosphere at the HFPA x CANNES event at Nikki Beach was the perfect chaser to the premiere earlier that night. Sims and husband, film producer Scott Stuber, had barely settled in at the cocktail party before a high-pitched squeal could be heard behind them. It was Lily Collins who proceeded to hug the model so tightly it seemed as if they were reuniting after decades.
They weren’t the only ones eager to catch up. As soon as The Meyerowitz Stories’ Emma Thompson found pal Tilda Swinton, she grabbed the Okja actress’ arm and the two chatted animatedly over a glass of rosé before heading towards the shoreline where the casts of both films were loudly holding court.
There they were joined by Okja’s Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano and Ahn Seo-hyun as well as Meyerowitz’ Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller with creator Noah Baumbach and his better half Greta Gerwig.
As much as everyone appeared to enjoy the scenic setting by the edge of the Mediterranean, the reason for the gathering was not lost on its celebrity attendees. The HFPA held the fete in honor of the International Rescue Committee and their work with refugees. It was a topic that left some of the actors at a loss for words.
“I don’t understand the system. We’re all refugees,” said an emotional Dustin Hoffman, pointing out his own parent were immigrants from Eastern Europe. Stiller joined in, expressing his concern with the current political situation. “I think what we’re learning is that the presidency is something you can’t take lightly. It’s a position where we need someone that we really trust, and who is committed to helping people.”
But the tone quickly turned celebratory as the day had been a successful one for the Netflix gang. For Stiller, his favorite Cannes moment to date had occurred just moments earlier on the stage of the Grand Theatre at the Palais.
“Just now, is probably my fondest memory: To present that movie and to watch the joy that was on Dustin Hoffman’s face as he was receiving this beautiful ovation for such incredible work. For me to just be in such close proximity to that was really wonderful.” Swinton was thrilled about the warm reception Okja has received, admitting that even after all these years presenting a film at Cannes is still nerve wracking. “Of course it is! One always hopes the aspect ratio is going to be correct, or the film doesn’t get caught in the projector.”
And then of course, there is that added pressure of the red carpet runway. Swinton looked statuesque in a Schiaparelli gown while Collins channeled her inner rock star in plunging Miu Miu dress and curled hair. As for Sims, asked to describe the theme of her Cannes wardrobe put together by stylist Jeff Kim, the mother of three quipped: “It’s ‘Mama got her body back!’” Now, that’s worth a standing ovation.
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