Some details from angieuk's MailOnline
Hollywood fears a mega-flop
...until yesterday it looked as if Weinstein would pull out of his £3million deal to distribute the film in the U.S. unless he was allowed to screen his edit. Dahan, meanwhile, implies that he’s the victim.
Those who have seen both versions talk about a film which is hard to follow, and a focus on mid-century French politics that is really not very commercial. Kidman, it seems, is ‘all right’ in the film, but reports suggest that despite impressive focus on the clothes, the jewels and the interiors, she doesn’t make the actress Grace Kelly, and her life in Monaco, believable.
...In the film, Rainier...is portrayed as overbearing, cruel and absent. There is also a subplot in the film involving Rainier’s sister, Princess Antoinette, in which she conspires with French President Charles De Gaulle to plot a coup to seize control of Monaco - which is, as far as anyone knows, a complete fabrication.
The other problem is that the movie that director Dahan turned in was just not acceptable to the film’s U.S. distributor Harvey Weinstein, either. It seems the spectre of last year’s Diana
movie - about her affair with surgeon Hasnat Khan - which flopped badly, weighs heavily on his mind. Weinstein was not involved in Diana
, and with Grace of Monaco
he had hoped to get a fascinating portrait of period politics and romance - the sort of upscale Oscar-winning fare in which he specialises. Think of Stephen Frears’ film The Queen
, which garnered Dame Helen Mirren an Oscar in 2006. Instead what he has reminds him more of Diana
, the critically-savaged film that earned around £2million on a budget of nearly £20 million. No wonder he’s taken fright.
The relationship between Dahan and Weinstein started to sour last spring, when Dahan, best known for the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose, delivered the film to Harvey. Weinstein thought it was too melodramatic, and too dark, and sent Dahan notes on the film, as is usual. He also started cutting a version on his own for the U.S. market - which is not so usual, because he was seriously alarmed. But when Dahan saw it he was furious.
The re-edited Grace
film was privately previewed in New York in September and I’m told that it still scored poorly. Viewers felt the structure was a mess and that it was hard to follow. Then there was a re-edit of Weinstein’s cut, involving extra shooting, but the result is still said to be lacklustre. An insider commented: ‘It’s not brilliant, it’s passable. It’s not an award winner.’ While Weinstein has tried to cut the film into a light fairy tale, the director’s version is more about pain and sadness, even though they are both from the same script.
A deal was worked out so Weinstein could release his version in the U.S. while the director’s cut would come to French cinemas. However in January that fell apart when Weinstein put off an agreed March release date, saying the picture was ‘not ready’. Soon after it was announced that Grace Of Monaco
- the French version, approved by Dahan - was going to open the Cannes film festival. Weinstein was furious and began trying to renegotiate his rights fee with the film’s financier. He wanted to pay £2million rather than £3million, citing broken promises on the part of the French filmmakers, and added costs incurred by the new cut. Now, according to Nicole Kidman there has been an 11th-hour compromise.*
But has there ever been a more ill-omened opening to a film festival? Or a greater embarrassment for a leading lady?
* the article contained no further details regarding the "11th hour compromise".