Tamara Drewe makes Cannes debut
Gemma Arterton's new movie Tamara Drewe made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival - without its leading lady.
The actress, who plays the title role in the British film, was absent from the screening due to conflicting promotional duties for Disney movie Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time.
However, the film's director, Cannes veteran Stephen Frears, was accompanied by Gemma's co-stars Dominic Cooper and Tamsin Greig.
Speaking at a press conference, Frears said the decision to cast Gemma, who appeared in Bond film Quantum Of Solace, wasn't based on her previous acting work.
"Gemma came to see me and she sat down beside me, and I said to my casting director, 'Is she any good, because if she is any good, we'll book her'," he said. "She was clearly gorgeous and clearly very witty and she was nice, warm, likeable. You're lucky when things like that happen, it's easy."
The film is an adaptation of Posy Simmonds' comic strip, which was inspired by Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. It follows a young journalist who, after returning to the Dorset village where she grew up, is forced to choose between two potential lovers as she attempts to write her first novel.
Asked why it was screening out of competition rather than vying for the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize, Frears said it had not seemed "appropriate" to enter a comedy for the award.
He said: "It's not in competition because it simply did not seem appropriate, and also because I didn't want to lose."
He joked: "At one stroke I have avoided that humiliating end. These are serious people here and it's very, very cheeky to turn up with a film like this."