The Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco, the Grace Kelly biopic that opened the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, won’t be getting a theatrical release in the U.S. Instead, the pic will premiere on Lifetime on May 25 — the day after Cannes wraps its 2015 edition.
It’s the latest twist in the tale of what was supposed to be a tentpole biopic of one of France’s (and America’s) most iconic movie stars and her rise from actress to royalty. Instead, battles over cuts to the film between U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company and director Olivier Dahan, as well as protests from the Monaco royal family over the depiction of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, mired the film, which was only released theatrically overseas.
Now Lifetime has landed the pic, though it’s unclear which of the cuts it will use. The director’s cut, and the version that opened Cannes to some derision from critics, was released in France by Gaumont, but during Cannes it was announced that Harvey Weinstein and Dahan had come to an agreement and would work on any cuts together. But the release never happened and there are now multiple cuts are floating around, including one suggested by screenwriter Arash Amel.
In an interview with Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr during Sundance this year, Weinstein addressed the conflicts and suggested that TV was an option for the pic.
“The script we signed on for was like The King’s Speech, with the big moment where Princess Grace steps up. That is what attracted Nicole. I made eight movies with her including co-producing The Hours with Paramount, and The Others. I know why she took it and why I was involved. I’d seen rushes that were great. The director is French, and he turned it more into a Hitchcock movie like a paean to Vertigo, which ironically Grace wasn’t in. The writer, Arash Amel, called me and said, what happened to my script? It’s like welcome to Hollywood. Writers don’t have any say, but we decided to pair him up with a team of people and see what he could do about restoring the movie to the way it looked when he wrote it. He did a wonderful job. You can ask Nicole. A beautiful job.
“The director refused and criticized me profusely. In the old days, I would have fought for it. Here, I said, the better part of valor was just to tell Nicole, you should get this done and if you can’t then I’m not going to, because I’m tired of this. I don’t want these fights. That movie would have been helped greatly by the writer’s cut of the film and it’s something that people should see someday. It wasn’t a transformative movie but it was a damn entertaining one.”
The May 25 premiere date announced today does make what is now a TV movie eligible for the Emmys.
Strangely, this isn’t the first time a Kidman-topped Cannes title is bypassing theatrical release. The 2012 Philip Kaufman-directed biopic Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Kidman and Clive Owen premiered in the States on HBO. It was nominated for 15 Emmys — including Actress, Actor and Director noms — and won two.