Hollywood bound after making a splash on Cote d'Azur


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The Independent Culture

While the box office names pose on the red carpet at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, industry experts are eagerly scouting films showing on the Croisette for the stars of tomorrow.

Last year's festival saw the debut of The Artist, the silent film that became a global sensation. This year, much of the early buzz focused on the actor Matthias Schoenaerts. The festival, which has a week to go, had not even begun when one periodical dubbed the Belgian actor "The new Jean Dujardin".

Schoenaerts was hailed by his co-star Marion Cotillard at the press conference for Palme d'Or contender Rust & Bone as a "a tremendous actor who could play all sorts of parts".

The 34-year old Schoenaerts speaks English with only a hint of an Flemish accent and his career in Belgium stretches back more than a decade. He said he was in talks with American producers and joked that he was about to star in "Rambo 34". He added: "There's a lot of stuff moving and I'm excited."

Lee Tamahori, the New Zealand film director who made Once Were Warriors and the James Bond film Die Another Day, said of Schoenaerts: "You just want to watch him. You can tell he's become a lot more internal about his acting. When you see actors cross that Rubicon and start to do less that's when they get noticed." He emphasised the importance of Cannes in bringing talents such as Schoenaerts to a wider audience. "Guys like him would not get in front of Hollywood producers without going through here first or another high-profile festival like Venice."

This year, Eloise Laurence has also been hailed for her performance in British film Broken. The 11-year-old also sang with Damon Albarn at a party this week. Tamahori said: "Cannes is good for French actors, then it becomes good for European actors. Now it's good for English-speaking actors for everywhere."

One actor who has generated a lot of buzz at the festival but will not be treading the red carpet is Aniello Arena,the star of Reality. He is serving a life sentence but was allowed out of jail to appear in the film.