Brange > Cannes
We had Brange as our top story on etalk yesterday and I can't imagine it was any different for any other entertainment show. They were the Main Event on Monday. Yesterday I described the process of getting credentialed for a red carpet here in Cannes - click here for a refresher. The request office opens at 10am. I sent Dylan there at 9am to start queuing while I headed to do the same for the press conference after the screening. There were a dozen people ahead of him. Within half an hour the line had extended all the way down the hall of the press centre, easily double how it was for Johnny Depp and Pirates 4. I was on edge all day waiting to find out if we had secured a spot. This is the pressure. This is how badly every outlet in the world needed that footage.
We were lucky to get a spot right at the top of the carpet so we could see them pull up at the Palais. When the fleet arrives, there are handlers and publicists and security and door openers all waiting to attend to the celebrities. The door openers wear white gloves. Brad alighted first, then I saw him put up his hand, wave off the door opener that was about to assist with Angelina's side, and he did it himself, going around the back of the car to present his lady. It's hot, yes. Really, really, really hot. But it's also an example of how well these two play their sh-t. He is the ONLY person who should be holding her hand, especially the first time you see her on this grand of an occasion. It's in the small details, right?
They immediately went over to the wall of fans lining the street. Signed autographs, giving out handshakes, maybe a hug here and there. Some broad swooned, literally. Like her knees gave out and I thought she was going to brain it on the barricade. After a few minutes of that, Brad was rushed over immediately to my right, like 6 feet away, to go live on Canal +. He was on form last night. Top form. Like a total boss. Like it was his party. You should have seen him greeting people - some producers he would hug warmly, grasping them with a firm shake, and a charming word to the wife/girlfriend, big smile, cheeky inside jokes, a cool motherf-fcker behind his shades. When the interview wrapped, he went back to the fans for some more loving, and then made his way to the base of the carpet to meet up with co-stars Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain.
Sean, by they way, did not bother with the photo call or the presser earlier that afternoon. I guess he knew it was Brad's show. Or couldn't get out of bed. Sean parties HARD in Cannes. When Brad first saw Sean, it was a brother moment. He grabbed him by the back of the neck, drew him close, the other hand reaching around his shoulders. Kinda like - thanks for coming to my party, I hope you have a good time.
It gets better.
With Chastain in the middle, the three walked hand in hand down the photo gauntlet and up the stairs. Before that though, he instructed an assistant type to look after the Jolie. She lingered back while he posed with the cast. I noticed a few people trying to talk to her, to ask her something, lean in and chat. She politely answered each time but her eyes, they never, ever, not once, left Brad. It was almost… possessive. Not in an insecure way but it was intense. Almost like - I'll wait, but don't make me wait long.
And he didn't.
He, Chastain, and Penn turned around at the top of the steps, did the obligatory, traditional wave, as the cast of the presenting film is meant to do, and then he leaned over to the two of them and said he'd be right back, started making his way back down the stairs. At this point, choreographed perfectly, the crowd that was gathered around Angelina parted, and she started making her way down the carpet to meet him. He approached her with his arms slightly outstretched. Dylan zoomed in on that moment and we were lip-reading later on when we watched it back in the truck; we *think* he said "ohhhh yessss". As in "you're f-cking hot tonight".
So they did their thing. And you're looking at the pictures. And there was the usual chest-rubbing and his hand lingered above her ass and a lot of handholding too, and then he stepped back so the photographers could shoot her solo, and then when that was done, he took her hand again and they made their way upstairs to the first landing, where she was greeted by the Festival people, and they turned around again to wave at the crowd, and there was another flight of steps to get to the top at which point, at the highest point, they faced the entire Croisette, people were screaming, it was full madness, and it was like Celebrity Royalty, the King and Queen of Cannes being celebrated by the masses…….
As Sean Penn had to wait patiently by the door before he could go inside the theatre.
That's the BEST part of this story.
It is protocol at Cannes for the final shot on the carpet to be the cast of the film that's being screened. You have seen it happen every night here during the festival. Tree of Life was the movie last night. Supposedly. But you wouldn't know it the way the Brange took over that situation. Angelina Jolie's not in it. She's not in Tree of Life. If you strip it down, she was Brad's date. His plus one. Which makes me laugh just to have written that. Is Angelina Jolie ever anyone's plus one?
Those two owned that sh-t like it was a balcony wave after a wedding…while two time Oscar winner, and the actor who actually does appear in Tree of Life, Sean Penn had to stand there, like some kind of attendant, observing them receiving their adoration, before he was allowed to go inside and have a seat. Amazing, right?
When they were done and were finally ready to enter the theatre, the Jolie made eye contact with Sean and he smiled broadly. They exchanged an affectionate hug. He actually laughed at something she had said. She then turned, very, very formally to address Jessica Chastain. I seriously thought Chastain was going to curtsey. You have to remember though, this is Chastain's movie. Wearing a lovely yellow gown, flanked by two major actors, her major Cannes debut, last night was supposed to be her moment. Instead, it felt like she became some kind of lady-in-waiting, stepping aside as the Queen took her rightful place. Gamesmanship?
No! cries the Brangelunatic, Angie would never!
Sure, whatever you say.
They did the same thing on their way out. He made two trips: holding hands with Chastain and another producer, and then, again, escorting the Jolie back down the steps.
This is what we love about celebrity. If I could, I'd replay this entire carpet for you over and over again, as a study in how and why the Brange is running their brand better than anyone else in the business. Think about how Tom Cruise bungled his sh-t. Think about how quickly that turned into a mess. It's not like it's a cash competition either. It's not like Tom isn't as rich as the Brange. This is a matter of execution. No one does it like they do.
I will say though, despite all the study of strategy (and he may have an Oscar nomination in mind this time because he really does deliver a tremendous performance in Tree of Life), that they are very, very well tuned to each other. In body language, unspoken communication, he seems to be very attentive towards her, they're aware of each other at all times, and while there's no doubt they spin it to suit their own purposes, these two aren't pretending to be together. It's not done. It was never done. Will it be done? Not sure. But judging from what they threw down here at Cannes, not for a while.
Also attached - Brange out for dinner last night after the carpet.
No I didn't like her dress. It wasn't so pageant-y in person as it is in pictures but it's still kinda bridal-y all the same. You almost didn't notice last night though. Her face was especially crazy. As in awesome to look at. Dylan was having a hard time with his camera because all the photographers were jostling; the situation became quite aggressive. He said last night that it wasn't his best work, and we didn't know how well it would turn out when we were feeding it back. But we ended up sending over some really great viz. They were able to use so much of it. When I asked him about it - I thought you said it might be sh-t - he replied, and he's not really into the Jolie, "Sometimes, it's the subject, you know? Sometimes you just have to point at it and she does all the rest".
It was true in her case last night. They did a great job on her face last night.
Photos from Wenn.com and Bauergriffinonline.com and KCSPresse/Laurent Despois/Splashnewsonline.com and VALERY HACHE/Francois Durand/Andreas Rentz/FRANCOIS GUILLOT/ANNE-CHRISTINE/Gettyimages.com