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A-Listers Head to Cannes as the Stars Align for Mipcom

From Hollywood A-lister Richard Gere to contestants from reality hit “Love Island,” Cannes will host a panoply of stars at Mipcom next week.

The international TV market’s smaller equivalent in April, MipTV, was also a starry affair, in part because of its overlap and association with the inaugural Canneseries event. But October is a better time for the U.S. studios to come to Cannes – without the proximity to the May screenings and as their fall season shows launch – meaning they are in town with series and talent. The stars have also aligned on a raft of international dramas this year. While it’s still a long way from the Film Festival, there will be a number of big names, notably from the U.S. and U.K., in the south of France this time out.

Ben Stiller is in town with CBS Studios International and will be talking about “Escape at Dannemora,” the Showtime series starring Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Arquette, and Paul Dano. He directed and executive produced the show, which will have its world premiere screening on the Monday of the market.

Another U.S. movie star, Richard Gere, will also be in Cannes. He will be meeting press and international buyers to talk about his first TV role in almost 30 years, playing media baron Max in BBC series “MotherFatherSon.” A U.S. buyer has yet to pounce on the BBC Studios-distributed show, but with Gere starring and Tom Rob Smith (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) writing, it will be one of the hot titles this year.

A+E Networks continues its drive into original drama and is bringing Aiden Gillen (“Game of Thrones”) to Mipcom for “Project Blue Book,” the UFO investigation series that counts Robert Zemeckis among its producers. Another face from “Game of Thrones” will also be on hand to talk about his new show – Sean Bean is making the trip to France to promote Sky’s much-anticipated street-racing drama “Curfew.” Sky Vision is on sales duty.

With hot-ticket drama often selling out ahead of broadcast, the big distributors will be looking to secure presales on their major titles. That is the case for the likes of “MotherFatherSon,” “Project Blue Book,” and “Curfew.” Another BBC Studios presale push is “Les Miserables,” starring Dominic West. He has two reasons to jet into Cannes, as well as discussing the new Victor Hugo adaptation, he is set to receive Canneseries’s inaugural Excellence Award.

Buyers, however, also like the reassurance of ratings. Big shows that have already launched that will be getting starry international launches at Mipcom include “The Cry,” with “Victoria” star Jenna Coleman in attendance. DRG is across sales of the BBC series, which has already been acquired by SundanceTV.

It’s also not just program promotion duties that bring talent to the market. Issa Rae (“Insecure”) will receive this year’s Mipcom Personality of the Year award at a gala event, and will give one of the major keynotes of the event.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will also give a headline speech at Mipcom. On the unscripted side, other talent in town includes several of the cast of “Love Island,” ITV’s breakout reality hit. They will be on the ITV Studios stand, where the set of the show will be partially recreated for market-going Love-seekers.

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