UPDATE: By popular, or maybe I should say semi-popular demand, my Ellen Page Cannes anecdote. Not that the above bit wasn't sufficiently entertaining, I think. But I'm all about added value.
For a long time I was something of what you might call a hard-partying fellow, but honest, it only took me a couple of film festivals to figure out that the best way of working them was to avoid over-late, over-imbibing evenings. By the time I started going to Cannes in 2005, I had become something like a model citizen in this respect. The press screenings there started at 8:30 in the morning, and I developed a routine that was in effect when I was there in 2006 and staying at the lovely, and spectacularly expensive, Hotel Martinez. Said routine being: up by 6:15 or 6:30 a.m. Call to my soon-to-be-wife in the States. Shower. Dress. Down to the restaurant and its very nice breakfast buffet by 7:15 at the latest. Eat, read the trades, smoke a couple cigarettes, drink a lot of coffee. Off by 8 a.m., at the Palais by 8:10 or so. And I did that every day, without fail. Interestingly, every day without fail for the first few days of the festival, another couple beat me to the restaurant and its breakfast buffet.
The first thing I noticed about this couple, who were very young—the male looked about 18, the female about 12—was that they were clearly not a couple in the romantic sense. They were very friendly with each other, but in a way that cousins might be. Another thing I noticed was how put-together they were. They were young enough that one might have expected them to have been out partying all night, and were just now dragging themselves to the hotel to get a spot to eat before collapsing. But that wasn't the case. They were both very fresh, cleaned-up, newly dressed. Neither smoked. And again, they were up and at-em before I was every day, and I had been leading what I considered a relatively monk-like festival existence.
And, of course, they were staying at the lovely and spectacularly expensive Hotel Martinez. So they had to be, well, somebodies. And they looked kind of familiar. But I couldn't place them. Until that Friday morning, when they weren't in the restaurant anymore, but on the front page of Variety, in a group shot of the cast of X-Men 3, which had had its red carpet premiere the night before. Ben Foster and Ellen Page.
Huh. And also, what the heck? Cut to January of 2007, the Sundance Film Festival. I'm walking down Main Street and I see producer Christine Vachon on the front patio of the Clam Shucker or the Claim Jumper or whatever the hell it is; she's having a smoke; inside is a party for An American Crime. With Ellen Page. Who's just coming out to the same patio. Christine graciously introduces me to Page, and I say, "I have one question for you, if you've got a minute," and Page is like, "Shoot."
"How was it that you and Ben Foster got to the breakfast buffet at the Martinez at Cannes earlier than I did, three days running or so? We were the only ones in there that early!"
Page shrugged. "Well, it's a simple question with a simple answer. I've always been an early riser; I like to get my day started in a timely fashion. Ben's the same way."
"I have to admit, I didn't recognize either of you at the time. It was driving me crazy."
"Yeah, I think we were wondering who you were, too."