We were there: Michael Douglas’ masterclass at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival

On the occasion of the presentation of his honorary Palme d’or, Michael Douglas took advantage of his visit to Cannes to give a masterclass. The Pathfinder was there, we tell you.

If this Tuesday, May 16, Michael Douglas received the Palme d’or d’honneur during the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, yesterday the 76-year-old American actor engaged in the traditional exercise of the masterclass. Moviegoers had to face a tough choice between meeting the actor and, at the same time, Almodovar’s press conference for his short film Strange Way of Life. After a merciless war on the Festival ticket office, it was finally Michael Douglas who won the hearts of The Pathfinderwho managed to access the discussions led by Didier Allouch with the American superstar.

To begin the interview, the journalist mentioned the Palme d’or d’honneur, an opportunity for Michael Douglas to come back to his memories of Cannes: “Yesterday was a particular emotion, because I have several memories of Cannes. I came in 1978 to present The Chinese Syndrome. Moreover, my father met my mother-in-law during the Festival, it’s a story that rocked my youth. I also remember the enthusiasm of French audiences for international films. They like the cinema; that’s what encouraged me to tour around the world. »

Kirk Douglas’ weight

The other event of the Festival was also the presentation of the documentary The Prodigious Son, which looks back on the rise of Michael Douglas, in the shadow of his father Kirk, then his independent trajectory finally as glorious as that of his patriarch. The feature film poses the following question in particular: how do we become the man that our father was?

This question, Michael Douglas has long asked and yet his method of acting has nothing to do with that of his father: “We were talking indirectly about our working methods. My Dad started with more emotional films before completely changing for his sixth film. For my part, I played dark characters. It is by playing this kind of protagonists that I started to gain recognition in the industry. The Oscar for Wall Street was obviously another benefit, because before, I felt the pressure of my father and the weight of his legacy. »

Michael Douglas, the prodigal son. ©FOLAMOUR PRODUCTION

Talking about his father, Michael Douglas is used to it and we feel that he likes it. At several points during the conference, the actor evokes the American star who died in 2020, with amusing anecdotes, but also the work with his family, as well as the importance it occupies in his life: “I’m not good on my own. »

From Milos Forman to Steven Soderbergh

It is surely for this reason that Michael Douglas has always wanted to surround himself with the best throughout his career. As a producer for Flight over a cuckoo’s nest (1975), he chose Milos Forman, a Czech filmmaker to whom the actor wanted to pay tribute: “We had a lot of trouble finding a director for the film. Milos was then depressed, he no longer got out of bed, even to go to a therapy session. But when he read the script of Flight over a cuckoo’s nest, he finally found a taste for life. It was magic, he was my friend and I miss him a lot today. » In addition, the film carried by Jack Nicholson had a great impact in the career of Michael Douglas. Winner of several Oscars, no studio wanted to produce the film at the time: “You have to follow your instincts, I loved the book, it was a very powerful book. It is this passion and this structure that pushed me to pursue the project. »

Paul Verhoeven, Adrian Lyne, Oliver Stone, Steven Soderbergh, Ridley Scott, David Fincher… Michael Douglas has worked with several iconic Hollywood directors. At Oliver Stone, he will become the famous Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987), the actor having noted having worked on his voice and his intonation for a long time in order to offer one of the most cult villains on the big screen a reptilian attitude.

Often attracted by out-of-control characters, Michael Douglas returned to this career choice by explaining: “I think my father’s generation was good and bad. My generation, on the other hand, given that we were influenced by the Vietnam War, the demonstrations… This meant that I was immediately attracted to men who are in impossible positions. This is what I learned in particular Fatal Link (1987). I put my character in a dilemma and the audience understood. »

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Steven Soderbergh is also one of the directors who counted in the career of Michael Douglas, having offered him three diametrically opposed roles, the most emblematic of which is certainly that in My life with Liberace (2013): “Steven Soderbergh, we can only support him. I would go anywhere with him. He’s nice and quiet, he’s a workhorse. He gave me a second chance after my cancer by giving me the role of Liberace. »

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Michael Douglas in My Life with Liberace.©ARP Selection

Since then, the actor has become an important figure in the Marvel universe, a choice that Michael Douglas justifies by his desire to “shooting a movie with green screens”. This testifies to the ever growing curiosity of the actor who also mentioned In pursuit of the Green Diamond (1984), Free fall (1993), or even The President and Miss Wade (1995) with Annette Bening. Although he has announced that he will focus on his humanitarian commitments and take a break from his career, after completing a period series in France, in which he will play Benjamin Franklin, the star has never been afraid to explore several terrains. cinematographic games: comedy with The Kominsky Method (2018-2021), independent films with King of California (2007), while advocating this image of an ambiguous sex symbol since Basic Instinct.

Presented at Cannes in 1992, the film worn by Michael Douglas alongside Sharon Stone left a lasting mark on the history of cinema. So, when one of its sacred monsters shows up on the Croisette, we can only do everything to attend its masterclass. Funny, exciting, but also moving, she was ultimately in the image of her actor and her career, sublime!

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We were there: Michael Douglas’ masterclass at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival