Jacob steps up for De Palma pic

Cannes fest prexy plays himself in thriller

CANNES — Having shared the limelight with new artistic director Thierry Fremaux and new managing director Veronique Cayla throughout the just-concluded Cannes Intl. Film Festival, Gilles Jacob stood on the Palais steps alone Tuesday — for his bigscreen debut in Brian de Palma’s “Femme Fatale.”

Playing himself, the fest prexy greeted helmer Regis Wargnier, actress Sandrine Bonnaire, producer Yves Marmion and the cast and crew of Wargnier’s “East West” as they climbed the red-carpeted steps for a specially staged opening sequence of De Palma’s $35 million thriller.

The two-day shoot, a day after the film festival closed, took three months to prepare, according to Marina Gefner, who is producing with Tarak Ben Ammar. Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications fully financed the film.

De Palma persuaded Wargnier to participate “because they are friends,” said Gefner. Some 1,000 extras were hired and almost 200 press photographers who had been covering Cannes were persuaded to stay on for the film shoot. Car rental companies and the local police also were called upon to take part.

As for Jacob, he was “fantastic and very professional,” Gefner said.

“It was a long night. We started at 8:30 p.m. and went on until 6 in the morning, but he remained right until the last shot,” she said.