×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tilda Swinton Defends Netflix at Cannes: ‘We Didn’t Come Here for Awards’

Netflix came crashing into Cannes on Friday morning, under a cloud of controversy and debate, with the premiere of its first in-competition feature, “Okja,” a special effects epic directed by Bong Joon-ho about a girl who tries to save her giant pet pig from an enigmatic corporation.

The acclaimed Korean filmmaker responded with humor to a technical glitch, which forced the film festival to restart “Okja” at a screening for journalists. “What happened this morning, I’m happy about it,” Bong said at a press conference with his cast. “You guys can watch the opening sequence twice.”

Tilda Swinton (who plays a evil CEO in the film) defended Netflix’s presence in the South of France, after distributors have protested celebrating movies that are will debut on the streaming service instead of theaters. “The truth is, we didn’t actually come here for prizes,” Swinton said. “We came here to show the film to the Cannes Film Festival. We get the wonderful opportunity and privilege to screen our film on that screen.”

Added Jake Gyllenhaal: “It’s truly a blessing when art can reach one person … particularly in today’s age, when we are inundated with information, sometimes true, sometimes not, that we can get the artistic expression in whatever form we can.”

Gyllenhaal then offered a quick aside about the recent news out of Washington D.C. “I’m very excited about the appointment of Robert Mueller,” he said about the special prosecutor who will investigate Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia.

It’s been a political Cannes for other reasons. On Wednesday, Cannes jury president Pedro Almodovar had said he couldn’t imagine giving the Palme d’Or to a movie that wouldn’t eventually premiere on the big screen. But that declaration didn’t seem to bother Bong, who made “Snowpiercer.”

“I’m just happy he will watch this movie tonight,” Bong said. “He can say anything—I’m fine.” He spoke highly of collaborating with the streaming service. “I loved working with Netflix,” he said. “They gave me great support — the budget for this film is considerable. Giving such a budget to a director isn’t very common.”

Gyllenhaal said he was such a fan of Bong, that he expressed interest in the role before even reading the script — based on the description of the pig. His character, a TV host, projects a high-pitched voice. “You should hear me in the morning,” Gyllenhaal said. The timbre was inspired by instructions from his director. “He drew me a picture of the top end of the guitar. He said, ‘That’s where his voice is.’ It was left up to my interpretation.”

“Okja” is drawing parallels to “E.T.,” “Babe” and other adventures with four-legged friends. “I still live outnumbered by animals,” Swinton said. “Some of them are human.”

More Film

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Author Tony Mendez arrives at the

    Tony Mendez, Former CIA Officer Depicted in 'Argo,' Dies at 78

    Tony Mendez, the former CIA technical operations officer who orchestrated the 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran and who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Academy Award winning film “Argo,” has died. He was 78. Mendez’s book agent, Christy Fletcher, announced the news on Twitter Saturday morning. “Early this morning, Antonio (Tony) [...]

  • Glass Movie

    'Glass' to Rank in Top 3 MLK Debuts With $48 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is on its way to a solid debut with an estimated $48 million for the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2017’s “Split,” the Universal superhero thriller should bring in around $41 million from 3,841 domestic locations over the Friday through Sunday period. The estimates are [...]

  • China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to

    China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to Hit French Theaters (EXCLUSIVE)

    Midnight Blur Films has signed a deal with French distributor Les Acacias to release Chinese arthouse drama “Three Adventures of Brooke” in France this year, the Chinese production company told Variety on Saturday. A release date has yet to be set for the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and stars Chinese newcomer Xu Fangyi [...]

  • Noe Debre On His Directorial Debut,

    Top French Screenwriter Noe Debre Makes Directorial Debut, ‘The Seventh Continent’

    This last half-decade, few French screenwriters have run up such an illustrious list of co-write credits as Noé Debré. Thomas Bedigain’s writing partner on Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Deephan,” Debra co-penned Bedigain’s own debut, “The Cowboys,” “Racer and the Jailbird,” by Michael Roskam, and “Le Brio,” directed by Yvan Attal. He has now [...]

  • Julien Trauman Talks Survival-Thriller Short ‘At

    Julien Trauman on Survival-Thriller Short ‘At Dawn’

    France’s Julien Trauman has never been afraid to play with genre, and in his latest short, the MyFrenchFilmFestival participant “At Dawn,” he employs aspects of psychological thriller, survival, coming-of-age and fantasy filmmaking. “At Dawn” kicks off the night before when a group of teens, one about to leave town, are imbibing heavily around a beach-side [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content