Benicio del Toro to head up Cannes Film Festival jury

Award-winning movie star Benicio del Toro is set to preside over the jury of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.

The 51-year-old actor – who previously served on the festival’s competition jury in 2010 – has succeeded Uma Thurman in presiding over the jury, which awards the coveted accolades.

del Toro already has a strong association with the event, having won the Best Actor gong in Cannes for his performance as Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Che’.

The Cannes Film Festival said that Del Toro was “an artist who knows no boundaries” and a performer who “throws himself like no other into his roles.”

He won a supporting actor Oscar in 2001 for his performance in Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic.”Un Certain Regard will this year feature around 20 different films at the upcoming festival, which begins.

In 2017, del Toro starred as Dj, an underworld codebreaker, in the Rian Johnson-directed : The Last Jedi’.

And the veteran star admitted that being offered the part represented the realisation of a long-held ambition.

He shared: “The director called me and offered me the role. I saw it as a challenge.

Del Toro has had a long association with Cannes. He served on the main competition jury eight years ago, which awarded the Palme d’Or to Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.”

Del Toro succeeds Uma Thurman in presiding over the jury for Un Certain Regard, the sidebar at Cannes that focuses on films with unusual themes or storytelling techniques. About 20 works compete in the section.

“I was being offered ‘Star Wars’, something he could have offered to hundreds of actors.“I’ve come here many times and it’s always amazing,” he said on that occasion.

Del Toro wanted to be a basketball player but became an actor instead, Cannes said. “When he was 20 years old, he discovered ‘The 400 Blows’ and the infinite universe of Fellini, Eisenstein, Bergman, Eustache, Kurosawa,” the festival said. “‘The Island’ of Kaneto Shindo became his go-to film.”

“We agreed I would read the script and give him an answer, so the script arrived, someone gave it to me in-hand and waited outside until I had finished reading it, and I am a slow reader.”

del Toro had to wait to discover whether he’d secured the part and he admitted to having no hesitations in accepting the role.

The actor confessed: “He waited outside four or five hours. I liked everything, not only my character, so I immediately said yes.”

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