Blanchett tells Cannes: I wanted to play Robin Hood
Australian actress makes a confession as cast turn out for first night of Cannes Film Festival
Australian actors Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett dodged the volcanic ash cloud and flew into France for last night's premiere of Robin Hood, which opened the 63rd Cannes Film festival.
The movie, directed by Ridley Scott, is not in competition, but remains one of the most talked about of the festival. Can it rival Gladiator, the last epic that paired Scott and Crowe, and won five Oscars in 2001?
The omens are mainly good, with excellent reviews appearing in the US and Britain ahead of this week's cinema release.
Crowe, talking to the press in Cannes, said: "There isn't a Robin Hood that's been done that gives me a satisfying feeling that I know the motivations of the individual, so that's what we attempted to do.
"There were many, many hours of discussion before we came to the fact that we'd better start at the beginning of the story and see how we do."
Cate Blanchett plays Maid Marion - named Lady Marion in Scott's version of the myth - following in the footsteps of Olivia de Havilland and Audrey Hepburn among others who have played the role.
She appeared on the red carpet in a stunning black and silver floor-length gown by the late Alexander McQueen, having confessed to the press: "To be honest, Olivia de Havilland was a great beauty but I always wanted to be Robin Hood rather than Maid Marion." However, the part was taken, she said, and she was unable to persuade Ridley Scott to make a quick cast change. "I was put back in my box."
Among the rest of the cast attending last night were Danny Huston, who plays King Richard, and the the former Spooks star, Matthew Macfadyen, who plays the Sheriff of Nottingham. Scott is recovering from a knee operation and could not be there.
Other highlights of the 12-day festival, which concludes with the awarding of the Palme d'Or, are expected to be a new Woody Allen film, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, starring Naomi Watts and Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Oliver Stone's sequel to his 1987 hit, Wall Street. It again stars Michael Douglas, this time teamed with Shia LaBoeuf.
Two British directors are competing for the Palme d'Or: Mike Leigh and - a last-minute addition - Ken Loach.
Leigh, who won the prize in 1996 for Secrets And Lies, is showing his new film, Another Year, starring Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton.
Loach, who won in 2006 with The Wind That Shakes the Barley, is screening Route Irish, an account of the secretive world of private security contractors working in Iraq.