Why didn’t Scarlett Johansson show up for the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Woody Allen’s erotic adventure, Vicky Cristina Barcelona last week?
As I reported on April 27, Scarlett was scheduled to appear with co-star Penelope Cruz to support the film, which features a menage a trois with Cruz and Javier Bardem. “Scarlett’s definitely going,” her camp confirmed. “It’s all been confirmed and arranged.”
But at the film’s news conference on May 17, the day of the premiere, Allen explained away Scarlett and Bardem’s absence by blaming it on her “schedule conflicts” and his “family issues.”
Then a British tabloid, the Daily Mail, quoting a source at Warner Bros Studio, the movie’s French-based distributor, reported that the real reason was Scarlett’s excessive demands, which forced the studio to balk at covering the costs.
The story also mentioned how lovely Cruz looked at the premiere. Coincidentally, she wore a Marchesa gown, designed by Harvey Weinstein’s new wife, Georgina Chapman, which the story failed to mention.
But I was told yesterday by a source who often works with Johansson on her international appearances that this report about diva demands is incorrect. No surprise because there’s never been diva-like behavior from this well-liked young actress whose reputation has always been above all that nonsense.
My source says all of Scarlett’s Cannes requests/needs had been agreed on by April 27 — hair, makeup, security, hotel — and she was good to go. She’d done all the press for her new album — Anywhere I Lay My Head — and was on the final fitting for her Cannes premiere dress designed by Dolce & Gabanna.
Then she announced her engagement to actor Ryan Reynolds on May 5. On May 6, she attended the Costume Institute Gala at the Met wearing Dolce & Gabbana and a diamond engagement ring.
Suddenly, everything changed. “Within 24 hours of the announcement of her engagement, the studio renigged on the agreed-on terms for Scarlett’s appearance at Cannes. It was insane. She was backed up against a wall. Finally, she personally made the decision not to go.”
I just had to ask. Is it possible that Woody Allen was annoyed over his muse’s sudden engagement?
“Yes,” said my source, who pointed out what she says are inaccuracies in the Daily Mail story.
The cost of Scarlett’s makeup person was only going to be $4,000 dollars a day, not 5,000 euros. Big difference. The story also quoted a studio source saying that Scarlett wanted to stay in an inconvenient hotel about 25to 30 miles outside of Cannes.
“That’s nonsense,” says a source much close to the star. “She was planning to stay at La Bastide Saint Antoine in Grasse, which is only 7 or 8 miles away.”
According to a journalist Joel Stratte-McClure (also my husband) who lived on the French Riviera and covered Cannes for 20 years for People magazine, “She has good taste. The chef there is one of the finest in France. But it’s not inconvenient at all. It’s actually easier to get back and forth to that hotel than the Hotel du Cap. And it’s cheaper, calmer and more relaxed than du Cap scene or the hotels along the Croisette during the festival.”
The Weinstein Company has released an official party line to defend Scarlett’s honor: “These reports circling about Scarlett are simply untrue and unfair. Both she and Javier were unable to attend Cannes because of various scheduling conflicts. We look forward to working with them when the film is released in late summer.”
But that brings up the bigger question. Where was Javier? “He’s the star! It’s his film,” said an insider close to the movie. “No one’s asking the important question, ‘Why didn’t Javier go?’”
Personal family problems? Or scheduling conflicts? According to his 42West publicist Leslee Dart, who also reps Allen and the film, who just emailed me from Cannes: “He had a family obligation that could not be changed.”
So, it’s kinda both.