Cannes’ man Cassel

Thesp chats at Canal's lunch

CANNES — A chatty Vincent Cassel held forth at Canal Plus’ roundtable lunch Tuesday, pleased as punch to be the festival’s first official master of ceremonies.

“I like the idea of being the first male to do it,” chuckled the Gallic thesp, who inherits the reins from Cecile de France. (His wife, Monica Bellucci, emceed the fest’s 2003 edition.)

Rubbing elbows with execs Michel Denisot and Evi Fullenbach of Canal Plus, which is broadcasting this year’s opening and closing ceremonies, Cassel had some choice words for those who criticize the perceived Hollywoodization of the fest, thanks to pics like “The Da Vinci Code” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

“The bottom line is that it helps everybody. It helps the blockbusters, it helps the obscure Greek director,” said the thesp, whose own career includes both the 1995 Cannes prize-winner “La Haine” (Hate) and “Ocean’s Twelve.”

“You can criticize (the fest), or you can say it’s the best thing ever to happen to cinema, but in the end, you have to talk about it. It’s Cannes. It needs to be talked about.”

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