In town for the world premiere of out-of-competition Cannes Film Festival entry Stillwater, star Matt Damon appeared moved by emotion during a near-five-minute standing ovation tonight. The drama, directed by Spotlight Oscar-winner Tom McCarthy, brought the assembled crowd to its feet in the Grand Théâtre Lumière as the lights came up on film’s team, and brought tears to Damon’s eyes.
Stillwater centers on Damon’s Bill Baker, an Oklahoma oil-rig roughneck with a shoddy past as a father who heads to Marseille, hellbent on freeing his daughter (Abigail Breslin), an exchange student imprisoned for murdering her girlfriend, a crime she says she didn’t commit. He’s the proverbial fish out of water who finds an ally in a local single mother (Camille Cottin) and her daughter (Lilou Siauvaud).
Given the film is largely set in Marseille, just about a two-hour drive from Cannes, the local crowd was particularly keyed in to certain references. And McCarthy further charmed the audience when he was asked to say a few words. Starting off his thank yous in French, he then added of the impromptu speech, “I didn’t prepare my French. I’m overwhelmed to be here. I have been so greatly influenced by the cinema of this country and of Europe. It has had a huge impact on my career and life. To be here is a dream come true.”
The Stillwater screenplay is from McCarthy & Marcus Hinchey and Thomas Bidegain & Noé Debré. The late Steve Golin is a producer along with McCarthy, Jonathan King and Liza Chasin.
Focus releases Stillwater, from Participant and DreamWorks, on July 30 domestically.