Casting aside rumors of editing-room tensions between himself and director James Gray, Harvey Weinstein spoke proudly and enthusiastically about Gray’s lush 1920s period drama “The Immigrant” Tuesday night at the film’s New York premiere, co-hosted by The Weinstein Company and Dior.
“It’s everyone’s story — my story, my grandparents’ story. This is our country,” said Weinstein, before going on to compare Gray’s film to another classic immigrant tale: Elia Kazan’s 1963 Oscar winner “America America.” He also praised the film for its timeliness, given the current tensions between the White House and Congress over immigration reform.
The film, which opens in select theaters May 16, follows a newly arrived Polish emigre (Marion Cotillard) on her darkly romantic odyssey through the tenements and two-bit vaudeville houses of the Lower East Side, where she finds herself torn between the affections of a charismatic hustler (Joaquin Phoenix) and his magician cousin (Jeremy Renner).
Cotillard, Gray and Phoenix all attended the film’s Paley Center screening, followed by the party at Beautique, where the Oscar-winning French superstar spent much of the evening locked in intense conversation with Weinstein, while an uncharacteristically buoyant Phoenix held court in a large booth, flanked by Michael Shannon and “The Immigrant” producer Anthony Katagas (a recent Oscar winner for “12 Years a Slave”).
Also glimpsed among the crowd: Uma Thurman, Alexander Payne, Paul Haggis, Dior CEO/President Sidney Toledano, and the film’s Oscar-nominated cinematographer Darius Khondji (“Amour,” “Midnight in Paris”), who praised Gray as “a very good composer and conductor with his crew.”
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Gray hopes to be shooting his long-in-the-works Amazon adventure tale “The Lost City of Z,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, by year’s end.
(Pictured: Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix at the New York premiere of “The Immigrant”)