Spiced out at Cannes

For culture, prestige and excitement, everything else here has been overshadowed by the Spice Girls’ weekend press conference at the Martinez Hotel.

The heavy-security, invitation-only media gathering was intended to tubthump the planned “Spice — The Movie.”

Scary Spice (aka Mel B.) enthused about the pic, “It’s gonna be very kinda intense, but with a fun element.”

Ginger Spice (Geri) said, “You’re gonna see our inner and outer struggles.” But lest it sound too serious, she added, “It’s going to operate on many levels,” describing it as a combination thriller, comedy, musical and action-adventure: “It’s a ’90s movie. It’s all flavors. It’s spicy.

Richard E. Grant will also star in the pic, whose North and South American rights were acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment this week. (Columbia Pictures is releasing domestically.) Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Icon Entertainment Intl. and Fragile Films will begin lensing “Spice — The Movie” next month. They plan a year-end release, apparently in time to qualify for awards.

Polygram’s international prexy Stewart Till struggled to control the girls’ exuberance with a stern, “Ladies, please!” when their heckling threatened to drown out his sales pitch to the assembled media. But Girl Power soon pushed him to the side as the fivesome took center stage.

The five young women — a musical group assembled via auditions — chose to control the Q&A sesh by pointing to reporters and saying things like “You, yeah, you, black hair!” and “You with the shiny head!”

The five later jumped off the dais to lead the 300 or so media reps in the Wave.

Speaking of their personal lives, Ginger Spice admitted she did, in fact, pinch Prince Charles’ bum; when pressed for a description, she declined to comment except to state, “It was not bad, I’ll say that.”

“I kissed him and it wasn’t that good,” added Scary.

They also revealed their outlook on life. Ginger mused, “We’re about female solidarity — We’ve got Girl Power,” a trademarked phrase that was used frequently during the half-hour sesh.

She then concluded philosophically about the Spice Girls: “If you read between the lines, there’s something there.”

By Timmy G. (Zesty Spice)

With contributions by Canadian Spice (Brendan K.) and English Leather Spice (Adam D.)

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