Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Day 4: Spice Girls Storm the Beach

by Richard Schwartz

CANNES, May 10 - Goodbye, Bergman and Bertolucci.

Hello, Beavis & Butthead.

On the golden anniversary of Cannes, the greats of yesteryear have been pushed aside in favor of a new crop of Gen X celebrities. An enormous billboard touting the aforementioned duo of animated metalheads now adorns the entrance of the Carlton, the Croisette's most glamorous hotel. Howard Stern (as well as a giant inflatable rendition of the shock radio DJ) lands at the Martinez Hotel on Monday for the European launch of his, er, "Private Parts."

And, in the ultimate sign that a new generation has seized control of the world's foremost film festival, the Spice Girls stormed the Cannes Beach Saturday to announce their first feature film. More than a thousand fans turned out to watch Britain's feisty pop quintet perform their Number 1 hit "Say You'll Be There" for French television network Canal Plus.

But the girls' real business in the Riviera will become obvious on Sunday when they hold a press conference to announce the details of their debut film, "Spice: The Movie." Produced by Fragile Films in association with London's PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, "Spice" will take a behind-the-scenes look at the group as they prepare for their first live performances.

Co-starring with Victoria, Geri, Mel B, Mel C and Emma will be British favorite Richard E. Grant, appearing as the band's neurotic manager. Filming will begin in England next month.

The hoopla over the Spice Girls' appearance at Cannes recalled the attention attracted by Madonna when she arrived at the festival in 1991 for the screening of "Truth or Dare." Pop stars have become an increasingly common sight on the Croisette, with Michael Jackson stirring up a frenzy earlier in the week. Both Iggy Pop, who scored Johnny Depp's "The Brave," and Eric Clapton, who composed the music for Gary Oldman's "Nil by Mouth," have also made appearances at the festival. In addition, there are rumors that Mick Jagger -- playing a transvestite club owner in the art film "Bent" -- could turn up as well.

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