Name: Menahem Golan
Last seen: Holding sway over the Croisette in the 1980s
Bottom line: He’s back, with high-concept films, ready-made taglines and dreams of regaining his status.
CANNES — He turns 74 on May 31. He’s making his 40th appearance at Cannes. And he’s still directing movies, making deals and dreaming of regaining his status as a big-time player.
Thirteen years after he and his Cannon Group partner Yoram Globus parted company to pursue separate ventures, the once-ubiquitous Menahem Golan is re-emerging on the Croisette.
Next month, Golan heads to Florida to direct a pilot, “Miami Mama.” He’s developing “Siege,” a thriller about a terrorist plot by Osama Bin Laden. Though he has already envisioned a tagline (“It did not happen … yet”), he can’t recall the name of the U.K. screenwriter he’s hired (“It’s back in my hotel room”) to flesh out the concept.
And what a concept: Bin Laden sending terrorists in one-man subs to Israel to capture President Bush and other world leaders gathered to sign a peace accord between Israel and Palestine.
But Golan declares that by Mifed this fall, he’ll be working again with big stars and developing movies with his partners Mark Tachalov of Germany’s Sofi Film and Alberto Abraham Amar of France’s Men’street Prods.
The project that gets him most excited is “Badenheim,” which he hopes will mark his return to the big leagues. Golan will direct the pic, set to roll in September: It’s a World War II saga about Jews trapped in the Austrian town, to star Klaus Maria Brandauer and Nastassja Kinski.
Contrary to the pre-sales frenzy that was Cannon’s modus operandi in the 1980s, Golan isn’t looking for deals on “Badenheim.” He says, “I hope a major like Sony Classics or Miramax will take it.”
Golan’s modest stand at the Cannes market, decorated with posters for his recent films shot in India and Thailand, is a far cry from the 1980s, when he and Globus presided over indie powerhouse Cannon from a hotel suites at the Carlton; indeed, industry wits referred to it as the Cannon film festival.
But the Israeli-based vet vows that, like Hitchcock, he’ll keep making films until the day he dies. By his own account,he’s directed 80 movies and as a producer has been involved in nearly 300 films. He’s had seven films in Cannes competition.
Golan has lived in Israel since Cannon imploded in 1990. His Jaffa Prods. is named for the town in which he resides –“the most beautiful city in Israel.”
Globus owns a cinema circuit in Israel and distributes movies in that territory for several U.S. majors.
Although Golan and Globus are first cousins, they have not spoken since a short-lived attempt to team up again six years ago in a company named Miracle Films. They chose that moniker “because it’s a miracle Yoram and I got together again,” Globus said at the time.
Asked last week what caused their rift, he said that story would need to be told in a book.