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Kristin Scott Thomas to host Cannes

Kristin Scott Thomas will be the mistress of ceremonies for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival that begins on May 12. The actress will host the opening ceremony, introducing the president of the jury, Tim Burton.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2010 17:45 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran

Kristin Scott Thomas

British actress Kristin Scott Thomas will be the mistress of ceremonies for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival that begins on May 12.



Thomas will host the opening ceremony, introducing the president of the jury, American director Tim Burton, and the other members of his team, as well as the inaugural movie, Ridley Scott’s

Robin Hood

, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchet.



Thomas will also preside over the closing ceremony on May 23, when Burton will announce the prizes.



The actress, who now lives in Paris, was once considered no more than a tea-sipping British aristocrat, her early celluloid roles more than merely affirming this image. However, her part as the passionate Katherine Clifton in the 1996

The English Patient

completely changed what people perceived her to be. As the lover of a Hungarian adventurer (played by Ralph Fiennes), she was sensuous and willing to shed the cloak of a delicately soft, snobbish upper-class woman horrified of being seen sans make-up.



Interestingly, Thomas led a life that was far from aristocratic – so very contrary to the image that her early cinema seemed to have shackled her with. Born in Cornwall in 1960 as the eldest of five children, her Royal Navy Pilot father died in a terrible crash when she was barely five. Tragedy came calling again when she was 11; her stepfather, also a military pilot, died in a similar accident, and little Kristin was forced to help her mother out with the family.



Gautaman Bhaskaran

Gautaman Bhskaran

Thomas had to fight her mother’s hatred for a film career, and, later, had to get over a bitter disappointment when London’s School of Speech and Drama advised her to forget acting. Disillusioned, she went on a two-week vacation to Paris, where her life changed dramatically. Working there as an au pair, she fell in love with a Frenchman. Enrolling herself in a Parisian drama school, she found it refreshingly supportive, and after a few more air pockets, she landed the first lead as a cold aristocrat in

A Handful of Dust

.



But it was in Roman Polanski’ s

Bitter Moon

(1992) – as Hugh Grant’s screen wife – that she was noticed internationally.

Four Weddings and a Funeral

, a second ride with Grant, and

The English Patient

, finally made her a celebrated actress.



Thomas played the Cannes’ Mistress in 1999, and the Festival will unveil its official lineup on April 15. Woody Allen’s

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

(with Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin and Antonio Banderas) and Oliver Stone’s

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps

(with Michael Douglas and Brolin) are strong contenders.



But for us in India, the question uppermost in our minds is, will there be an Indian movie, at least this year?



Gautaman Bhaskaran will be at Cannes this May, his 20th time there