Three of the world’s A-list actors are expected for the 64th Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off today: Jude Law and Uma Thurman “in the role” of jury members, and Johnny Depp, presenting the fourth episode of Pirates of the Caribbean saga.
While celebs are disembarking by the boatful onto the Croisette and the Festival has announced plenty of parties, we propose a divertissement of another genre, a sort of ‘six degrees of separation’ game to connect each of the three actors to one another, with food & film as the common thread.
Let’s begin with the British actor, Jude Law. This year he’ll be in the prestigious position of one of the Festival’s jury members, but let’s not forget one of his more “humble” roles of years past: for example, that of the limousine driver, Alfie, in the 2004 remake of the eponymous film. Law took on the role of the womanizer, originally played my Michael Caine in the 1966 version, who had regular rendez-vous encounters with his “special” lady lover (played by Susan Sarandon) at New York’s legendary luxury hotel, the Waldorf Astoria. A truly iconic establishment, the Waldorf Astoria hotel has been a featured location in countless films and television shows - like The Out-of-Towners, Scent of a Woman and Sex & The City, just to name a few.
The hotel is renowned for much more than its rarefied ambience. As any Carrie Bradshaw can tell you, its famous Sunday Brunch, served from 10am until 2:30pm, is a luxurious culinary treat, where you can enjoy a chocolate fondue fountain, champagne mimosas, smoked fish, its self-named, world-famous salad and a meat-carving station.
Thanks to the Waldorf Astoria Cookbook, written by chefs John Doherty and John Harrison who share their secrets, you can also try to replicate those delicacies in the privacy of your home. Your own success, however, is not included in the cover price.
If you haven’t yet mastered the basics of cooking and need a trusty primer, look no further than the authoritative tome on cooking Mastering the Art of French Cooking written by Julia Child, the doyenne of domestic fine dining and first true example of a celebrity chef.
Her work and personality were so influential that they became the subject of first a blog and then a movie, Julie & Julia, in which the self-deprecating, hilarious, but always elegant Child was memorably interpreted by Meryl Streep – in a role that almost landed her (yet another) Oscar.
The great American actress played also a comic role as psychoanalyst and overbearing Jewish mother, Lisa Metzger, in Prime. Which also starred none other than Uma Thurman, who played her patient and, awkwardly, her son’s girlfriend. Alongside Jude Law, Uma Thurman is a fellow jury member at this year’s Cannes Festival. And here, we’ve completed our first circle.
FROM UMA THURMAN TO JOHNNY DEPP
While Uma Thurman screen presence is always memorable and magnetic (especially when Tarantino – another ex-jury member at Cannes – uses her as a muse), she has recently interpreted a modern-day Medusa in the 2010 film, Percy Jackson. And how might an updated version of this mythological creature lure today’s teenagers into her perilous cove? Why, by cookinghamburgers with grilled onions and fries whose irresistible scent would make anyone’s mouth water. Except, of course, when those burgers and fries are the subject of a “j’accuse” movie on the fast-food industry, like those featured in the stomach-churning “mockumentary” directed by Richard Linklater and written by Michael Moore, Fast Food Nation, which made its worldwide premiere at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Of course, fast food restaurants, being such an integral meeting place for Americans in their daily lives, are a common setting for both films and television series – even when the Americans are anything but ordinary.
Who could forget the Doublemeat Palace, from the show Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, where human flesh between two buns is cheerfully served by fanged members of the living dead, along with a side order of fries. Though their favourite delicacy is blood, hamburgers seem to be a recurring dish in vampire-themed entertainment.
Another fast-flesh-food eatery popular with vampires, is the American-style diner, Merlotte’s, in Alan Ball’s series True Blood, starring the Academy-Award winning actress, Anna Paquin.
And it seems that no celebrity is immune to allure of playing a vampire. The latest victim? None other than Johnny Depp, soon to team up once again for a collaboration with Tim Burton for a new adaptation of the cult 1966 vampire-themed soap opera Dark Shadows, in which Depp will play the role of the evil and twisted vampire Barnabas, originally portrayed in the ABC series by Jonathan Frid. In the meantime, the Cannes Festival public will get to see Johnny Depp “in the flesh”, when he’ll present the fourth and latest installment of the wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbeansaga.
And with this, we wrap up our degree of foodie-separation game. After all, there’s nothing like food to bring people – whether celebrities, fictional characters, vampires or Cannes jury members – all together.