Was wily Harvey Weinstein’s people charging journalists $1,500 apiece for a seat at the Cannes Death Proof junket? This and other matters are explored by my Village Voice Media brother Rob Nelson in his wonderfully subversive Cannes Film Festival coverage. (Read it here.) He describes The Weinstein Co’s Death Proof dog and pony show with Quentin Tarantino thusly: “Near the end of the press conference, which had QT literally sweating with enthusiasm for his movie and its many sources, a journalist asks Monsieur Grindhouse how he feels about writers having been requested by Harvey’s crew to pay $1,500 apiece for a seat at the Cannes Death Proof junket. Whoa—can we run this wicked vérité action scene in slo-mo? First shot: Extreme close-up of QT, who says he doesn’t “get” the question… Cut to long-shot of Stuntman Harv’s dutiful assistant slithering toward the dais and stopping to whisper something insinuating in QT’s ear… Cut to QT as another sweat-drop falls, repeating that he doesn’t know what this is all about… And finally a shot of dialogue moderator Henri Behar diplomatically declaring that this is a discussion for after the press conference, s’il vous plaît. After you mean like at night on the Weinstein yacht in the middle of the fuckin’ Mediterranean or some shit?
“Oh, well—no actual proof of impropriety here, right? So even though the powers that be were awfully quick to take that particular question off the table, we gotta be safe and assume that no writer in Cannes under any circumstances was asked to pay $1,500 in order to do his duty at a Weinstein Co. Death Proof junket. But Harv—it’s a fuckin’ good idea, right? Charge a hundred poor, fuckin’ badly dressed fanboy bloggers and weekly print stringers—some of ’em likely with little or no health insurance (though they might get some after you put out Sicko in June)—and, voilà, you got a cool $150,000 to put toward the tens of millions you stand to fuckin’ lose on Grindhouse! I’m just sayin’, Harv—it’s not a bad idea. Make the kids pay for their own press coverage! Kinda in the ’70s cut-rate grindhouse spirit for a millionaire movie executive to come and shake down the working press in Cannes, right? Just something for you to think about…”