Nor is the bid for reinvention limited to the veterans. Newer entries to Hollywood are equally aggressive at Cannes in targeting the concentration of Hollywood firepower. You might be standing on a yacht at a party thrown by Bill Perkins, a former Enron trader who made a killing in the energy market and who has gotten into film as a hobby (movie claim to fame: the coolly received Liam Neeson supernatural thriller "After.Life") and you'll strike up a conversation with Lucas Grabeel (movie claim to fame: He played Sharpay's brother in "High School Musical 3"), who's there to meet with actors and financiers about a slate of films he's developing with a writer named Mitchell Klebanoff (movie claim to fame: He wrote "Beverly Hills Ninja").
"It's just a place where we can put some projects together," Grabeel said, as the DJ pumps out a loud Lady Gaga song and hired dancers adorned in glitter and skimpy bikinis gyrate nearby.
Cannes gives hope to everyone, even to the downtrodden, like the panhandlers who hold out their cups at 3 a.m. outside the hotels and bars on the Boulevard de La Croisette, hoping the tuxedoed revelers stumbling their way home from afterparties will dig into their pockets for a few Euros. "There's a palpable sense of optimism here; everybody has the project that's going to scorch the earth," Hamill said. "It's a really intoxicating atmosphere to be in."
But the question, of course, is whether you can actually get something going here. Numbers are hard to project, but most meetings here lead to relationships at best, not deals. And while press for familiar faces can be abundant, one wonders about the value of it all. If everybody gets attention, does anybody?
"The big A-list pictures create a vortex in which everybody else can take advantage of the activity," said Jonathan Dana, a producer and independent-film world veteran who's been coming to Cannes for more than 25 years. "The difference between potential activity and actual activity is a function of how clever and effective any individual is."
Or, in some cases, how persistent they are. As Tamasy said of his producing partner: "Mark is a built-in marketing machine. He'll go out and beat the pavement and push movies in a way most actors don't."
At the Majestic, Hamill was maintaining the optimism. "I just want to be involved, you know? It's no surprise that some of the old-timers in the theater wind up being ushers or working the box office. I always said that if I totally tanked in my career I could see myself having a nice catering business because I like being around film. I'd be whipping up a nice meal. 'Would you like a cheeseburger, Mr. Scorsese?'"
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