Tom Cruise swoops into Cannes, igniting film festival with jets and star power
CANNES, FRANCE (REUTERS) - Tom Cruise rolled into the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday (May 18) – jet planes in tow – cranking up festivities with action, star power and autograph signings on the red carpet.
Fans greeted him with whoops and hollers and the French Air Force aerobatic team Patrouille de France flew overhead, spraying the sky with coloured smoke trails in red, white and blue.
The French city pulled out all the stops to honour the Hollywood megastar, including an unexpected presentation of an honorary Palme d’Or. Festival president Pierre Lescure announced the award — about 15 honorary Palmes have been given before — on stage just before the screening was to begin. Cruise was clearly taken off guard as he clutched Cannes’ top prize while the audience gave the actor a thunderous standing ovation.
Cruise, 59, was in the city to promote the long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick movie sequel, which was held back for two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A big ticket draw, it has added considerable buzz to the world’s largest film festival as it marks a splashy return for its 75th anniversary edition.
In a tuxedo and black bowtie, the American star worked the crowd lined up along the red carpet, signing photos and posing for selfies.
He posed with fellow actors Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller, clapping festival director Thierry Fremaux on the back when the jets flew over head.
Cruise had arrived earlier in the day, stepping out of a black car to the chants of “Tom! Tom!” Some fans had been camping out since breakfast.
“I was like, ‘I must see him, absolutely, one way or another!’” said Oriane Holz, 22. She held up a sign asking for tickets to the screening of the film.
Katy McNulty, 46 and Joanne Routledge, 52, had been on the road since before dawn. The pair were up at 3 am and travelled from the north of England to Scotland, taking a plane from Edinburgh to Nice, and then a train to Cannes to arrive in time for Cruise’s appearance.
What were they angling for?
“A selfie with Tom because we promised them at work that’s what we’ll deliver – and they told us we wouldn’t,” said Routledge.
Stan Hamilton, an American student learning French in Cannes, said: “Me and my father watched ‘Top Gun’ when I was a child. I wish he could be here with me now.”