On the eve of its glamorous opening night debut at the Cannes Film Festival, Nicole Kidman's Grace of Monaco has been dealt a blow with reports that industry heavyweight Harvey Weinstein is considering dropping the biopic from US distribution.
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Nicole Kidman stars in this intimate snapshot of a year in the life of the twentieth century's most iconic Princess, Grace Kelly.
Variety reports that the distributor-producer, known for his propensity to recut films to his own taste and accordingly referred to in some circles as "Harvey Scissorhands", is unhappy with the version of the film that director Olivier Dahan plans to unveil on May 14.
The movie was originally scheduled for release late last year, but was pulled by the Weinstein Co because it was reportedly "not ready".
But Dahan told French newspaper La Liberation last October that the issue was not with the film, but rather with the gulf between his vision and Weinstein's.
"What's complicated at the moment is to make sure that you, the critics, can review my version of the film and not someone else's," he told La Liberation.
Acknowledging the power of Weinstein, who has a long history of forcing his vision upon reluctant directors, he added: "It's pointless to struggle when you're up against an American distributor ... They want a commercial film, taking out everything that's [real] cinema, that's about life."
Dahan said that a distributor such as Weinstein was more interested in the marketing side of things than the artistic integrity of the film.
"These days, there's a tendency to make a trailer before the editing is even finished," he said. "In this instance, they made a trailer that doesn't correspond to the film and then tried to make the film resemble the trailer. I understand the distributor looks after the trailer but between that and the film there is a world of difference."
Asked if he should perhaps have predicted the way things might turn out, Dahan replied: "If I had done a Hollywood movie I would have known what to expect ... but this is a French film so logically there shouldn't be this type of problem."
The film is set in the early years of the marriage between the former Grace Kelly (Kidman) and Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth).
Roth told Fairfax last year that Kidman was "really quite the thing" in the role. "She's going to knock your socks off."
The film is set in 1962, "at the point when the French were going to take the country back from Rainier because he was trying to set up a tax-free zone," Roth explained.
Also placing pressure on the marriage was the fact that Alfred Hitchcock was attempting to lure Grace back to Hollywood to star in his film Marnie. "That kind of turmoil, it's an interesting time in her life," Roth said.
If the reports of Harvey Weinstein's dissatisfaction with the film are correct, he is at least in powerful company. In January 2013, the Monegasque royal family publicly distanced themselves from Grace of Monaco.
"We have had absolutely no association with this project, which claims to be about the lives of our parents," reigning monarch Prince Albert – son of Grace and Rainier – and his sisters Princess Stephanie and Princess Caroline said in a statement.
"For us, this film does not constitute a biographical work but portrays only a part of her life and has been pointlessly glamourised and contains important historical inaccuracies as well as scenes of pure fiction."
Fact or fiction, success or failure, Australian audiences will soon enough have a chance to assess for themselves. Grace of Monaco is slated for release here on June 5.