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Russell Crowe's bows and arrows to be a Cannes opener

March 26, 2010 |  8:00 am


After making animation -- or at least the people who create it -- the stars of the red carpet last year with "Up," the Cannes Film Festival is going with a more traditional opening night this year.

The festival announced Friday morning that "Robin Hood," Ridley Scott's take on the folkloric hero, will open its annual extravaganza on the Croisette. Russell Crowe stars as the iconic character, firing arrows, tangling with the sheriff of Nottingham and generally making mischief.

The movie's a pretty logical choice for Thierry Fremaux and the people who program Cannes: It offers a patina of seriousness, with Scott a multiple Oscar nominee, but also the media-ready glitz that the festival prefers for its opening night, with a glamorous international cast that includes Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt and Max von Sydow. And it jibes nicely with Universal's release date for the Brian Grazer-produced film: May 14, two days after the festival opens.

How does this choice fit with past Cannes openers? It marks the fifth straight year that the festival is opening with an English-language film (Dominik Moll's French-language "Lemming" was the last time it didn't) but the first time since "The Da Vinci Code" in 2006 that it's going with an action movie.

-- Steven Zeitchik

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Photo: Russell Crowe in "Robin Hood." Credit: Universal Pictures