Kidman’s Grace Kelly biopic to open Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival will have a strong Australian flavour for the second straight year with the Grace Kelly biopic starring Nicole Kidman selected to open the 2014 event.

Festival officials on Friday announced the Olivier Dahan-directed Grace of Monaco, starring Kidman as Kelly, would open the 67th Cannes Film Festival with an out-of-competition screening on May 14.

It comes after Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby opened last year’s festival.

Kidman also featured in 2013 as a member of the festival jury and she will effectively be the face of this year’s event.

Australian-based, New Zealand-born director Jane Campion was earlier this month announced as president of the jury for 2014.

Grace of Monaco depicts the period of Kelly’s life following her 1955 marriage to Prince Rainier, played by Englishman Tim Roth.

The film, shot in Italy, France and Monaco, was originally given a release date for last year but it has since been pushed back several times amid rumours of behind-the-scenes clashes between the director and studio.

Kelly and Rainier’s children also have problems with the film.

Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie described it in a statement as “pure fiction”.

“It tells a story, rewritten and unnecessarily glamorised … containing significant historical inaccuracies and a series of purely fictional scenes,” the statement says.

The royal family had asked for several changes to the script but their suggestions were batted away.

Academy Award-winning actress Kidman told Vanity Fair last month she felt she had “a sense” of Kelly when discussing the role.

Legendary director Campion will succeed Steven Spielberg as the president of the jury, which selects the winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or for best film.

Campion is the only female director to have won the coveted prize, for The Piano in 1993, while she was honoured by fellow filmmakers with a lifetime achievement award last year.

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