Ten years ago, actress Lily Collins was on vacation in Cannes with her family when she first saw the Grand Palais. “I remember seeing the steps and thinking, ‘One day maybe, that would be amazing.’ And now, I’m walking the steps, linking arms with my co-stars. It is such a crazy, magical experience!” beamed Collins, 28, catching a break at the Carlton Hotel, where her film Okja, premiered to raves the night before. It is the newest film from Korean director Bong Joo Hoo, and follows Mija (An Seo Hyun), a young girl in South Korea whose best friend Okja, is a friendly gigantic pig. But when an evil food company, headed by Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) and Dr. Johnny Wilcox (Jake Gyllenhall), takes Okja into captivity for experiments, Mija sets out on a rescue mission with the help of Red (Collins) and Jay (Paul Dano). Collins, fresh off Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, wasn’t the slightest bit overwhelmed by the Cannes experienced, but she did admit it was a lot to take in. “Premiering a film here is surreal, I’ve never seen so many photographers in one space—the music, everything, it’s so strange. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”
So this is your first Cannes!
Yes, it’s so fun, but it’s so much. There’s really never a dull moment. it keeps you guessing— you’re like, what am I going to do next? What else can I fit into my schedule?
Did Tilda Swinton or Bong Joo Hoo give you any advice about the festival before?
Tilda was saying it’s going to be unlike anything I had ever seen. She told me to just soak it all in. I was talking to Paul and Jake about what happens after the premiere, when it all finishes— there is either clapping or booing, and you have a camera on you, and your seated in the center of the cinema. They were prepping me on when that might happen, so when the credits finished I was gearing up. It’s the strangest thing, all of a sudden the camera films you to witness the audience’s response. And I just looked at my co-stars, like ‘This is so strange!’ It’s like a fish bowl; you’re in the middle of the theater. Director Bong has been on the jury before, and Tilda, Jake [Gyllenhaal], and Paul have too, so they’ve been giving me some pointers. I’ve also been running into people at the festival that I know, who have been so helpful in reaffirming the fact that it’s mental.