Cannes Notebook: Talking Money With the Stars
Go Ask 'Alice'
Actress Mia Wasikowska -- who starred in the Cannes entry Restless -- is constantly on the road, so she keeps her finances simple. "I think things would get more complicated if I owned a place or something," the 21-year-old actress told TFOP. "Whenever I'm not working I go home to my parents' house in Australia and otherwise I live where I'm working. I'm in hotels."
Wasikowska's seemingly uncluttered strategy belies a skyrocketing career. She has completed nine films in about two years, according to IMDB, and she was the one actor in 2010 besides Leonardo DiCaprio who appeared in movies that grossed more than a combined $1 billion, according to Forbes.com. Most of that came from her turn as Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.
Part of her career plan is to parcel out her visibility. She said she was taken aback when she was referred to as a hot commodity before Alice even opened. "You can choose the amount of exposure you have so people don't get bored of you," she said. "I feel there's a fine line in films."
Taking Over the Family Business
Henry Hopper, Wasikowska's Restless costar and the son of late actor Dennis Hopper, received business advice from his pop. But like a lot of 20-year-olds, he isn't following it.
The elder Hopper, who appeared in more than 200 films, claimed that he never turned down a role after conquering drugs and alcohol in the mid-1980s, according to The New York Times. He also toiled for decades in the studio system, so it wasn't unusual for him to string together films, his son said. "For me, rushing into things without having an understanding of why I'm there or what I'm doing there is not something I want to do," the young Hopper explained.
Getting his first paycheck for acting was satisfying, he added, but he hasn't made up his mind yet if he'll pursue the craft for his living. "I do take it seriously and I love it very much, but the choices that guide me are not necessarily from a career standpoint."
Silence Was Golden
If you ever want to raise money for an outlandish personal dream, find the one wealthy person who believes in you.
It worked for Michel Hazanavicius, director of the Cannes film The Artist. Hazanavicius has a track record of successful spy spoofs in France, but his idea to make a black-and-white silent movie with French actors about the dawn of the talkies in Hollywood earned him plenty of silence from potential backers. Until he met producer Thomas Langmann.
Many producers are better at receiving checks than writing them. So imagine Hazanavicius' surprise when Langmann dug deep to come to the rescue. "At one time we had an unfortunate gap and we needed money," the director recalled. " I think he put in something like 3 million euros [$4.2 million] of his own money. Nobody does that."
Langmann then convinced another producer to fork over the last 1.5 million euros [$2.1 million] to bring the budget to the 9.5 million euros [$13.3 million] that Hazanavicius needed.
The gamble appears to be paying off for everyone. The film, starring Jean Dujardin, who won best actor at Cannes, and Hazanavicius' companion, Berenice Bejo, charmed audiences here and has been acquired by The Weinstein Company.
The Price of Fame asked Hazanavicius to offer some advice on how to convince a backer to hand over copious amounts of cash.
"Find your own Thomas Langmann," he said.