Tuesday, May 18, 1999 Published at 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
Hollywood comes to Cannes - finally
Emily Watson, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins in Cannes
Vanessa Redgrave and Emily Watson also star in the film, which tells the story of left-wing artists fighting repression in New York in the 1930s.
Director Robbins said he could not identify with the major Hollywood studios, who are reportedly wary of letting the Cannes critics loose on their big releases.
He joked to reporters: "You guys are so nice, you are puppies. There's nothing to be afraid of - come to Cannes."
Sarandon is cast by her husband as a fascist fundraiser for Mussolini in the film, a role she relished.
"I love playing bad people. You are not burdened with all that sincerity that you have when you are playing a nun."
Meanwhile, Watson - who played cellist Jacqueleine du Pre in the recent Hilary and Jackie - had a challenging role as a deliberately bad singer.
She said: "I really did put myself through purgatory, standing on stage in front of 1500 people with my little wobbly voice for hours and hours on end. But I like to put my head on the line."
Millionaire man teams up with BBC
BBC Films is developing Dirty Pretty Things from a screenplay by Steve Knight, who is one of the team behind the big-money game show fronted by Chris Tarrant.
The screenplay is billed as a contemporary thriller set in London.
"It is an attempt to take a fresh look at the backroom world of hotels as you have never seen them before," said BBC Films head David Thompson in Cannes.
"Steve's written several scripts and he is an extremely good writer. He is bringing the same popular touch to film-making that he does to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"
BBC Films has also signed a production deal with Full Monty star Robert Carlyle. He was unable to be at Cannes, but he sent a statement saying the BBC felt like "a natural home" for his company 4Way Pictures, which he owns with film-maker Mark Cousins and director Antonia Bird.
In League with the Gentlemen
Bird also made Priest and Face, both starring Carlyle, for BBC Films.
Other projects being announced include an as-yet untitled screenplay from comedy group The League of Gentlemen.
But fans looking for the inhabitants of their surreal village of Royston Vesey - as seen in their award-winning BBC Two show - will be disappointed.
"The League Of Gentlemen are incredibly cinema literate as a group, and they want to write a proper narrative," a BBC Films spokesman said.
David Thompson added: "There has been a tendency for BBC Films to be associated with serious and period subjects, but were are going into doing more comedy and lighter films."
Among BBC Films' past projects are Mrs Brown and Gods and Monsters, which were both nominated for Oscars.
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