Seen and heard at the Cannes Film Festival

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Photo -   Actor Damian Lewis poses for photographers during The Silent Storm portrait session at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Actor Damian Lewis poses for photographers during The Silent Storm portrait session at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Entertainment,Music

CANNES, France (AP) — Associated Press journalists open their notebooks at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

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DAMIAN LEWIS: FROM HOMELAND TO SCOTLAND

"Homeland" without Sgt. Nicholas Brody? Damian Lewis says it's possible.

The British actor has become an American television star playing the U.S. Marine-turned-conflicted al-Qaida terrorist in the award-winning thriller series.

He'll soon start filming the third season, which begins with Brody at large and the world's most wanted man, hunted by his adversary and sometime lover, CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes).

Whether Brody will be run to ground — and how long the character can avoid what seems like inevitable doom — the actor can't say.

"I think 'Homeland can go on forever," Lewis told The Associated Press in Cannes. "Whether Brody can go on forever is a different matter.

"We'll just play each season as it comes. Writers write themselves into interesting positions, sometimes not wholly expected positions. So it's a continuing surprise for everybody."

The show has won a packet of awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Lewis, and has managed to maintain its momentum even after resolving the is-he-or-isn't-he-a-terrorist mystery of season one.

Lewis says making "Homeland" is still enormous fun, but he's confident the show's creators will know when to call it quits.

"I know they won't flog it," he said. "I think once it stops being interesting they'll leave it alone."

Lewis is in Cannes to talk about "The Silent Storm," a poetic romantic drama set in a remote Scottish island community. Lewis will co-star with Andrea Riseborough ("W.E.", "Oblivion") in the movie, due to shoot this summer.

"I just thought this was a superior piece of writing," Lewis said. "It also happened to fit around my family and 'Homeland.'"

That's a key consideration. Lewis tries to arrange his schedule to spend as much time as he can with his wife, actress Helen McCrory, and their young son and daughter.

"Once you have kids — and if you've made a decision that you're going to parent them and not just have them and hand them over to someone else — then it becomes very significant what work you choose," he said.

"The Silent Storm" is a first feature from writer-director Corinna Villari McFarlane but it has some heavyweight backing. The film's executive producer is Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions, the company behind the James Bond series.

"The writing has an authenticity and sincerity, and also an ecstasy in it that you rarely find in smaller films," Lewis said. "I love the idea of getting in front of the camera with Andrea. I think we'll have lots of fun."

— Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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LOVE BLOOMS IN A POWER STATION

Director Rebecca Zlotowski's "Grand Central," playing at the Cannes Film Festival, is a tension-filled love story starring acclaimed French actors Tahar Rahim and Lea Seydoux against the background of a power station.

For Zlotowski, featuring the characters' work environment was an important element to the story.

"In a lot of films, you see people working for two seconds and then the story comes and goes and you never know what they are doing in their lives, like how do they earn their living? How does their work impact on their feelings?" explains Zlotowski.

"It was really like a decision in the film, that their work and their movements in the film are connected to what is happening outside," she added.

Seydoux, who starred in Zlotowski's debut film "Belle Épine," bares all in some sexually charged scenes — something that was a challenge for the actress. But she said her close relationship with the director made it easier.

"I'm never comfortable," said Seydoux. "(But) we (Zlotowski) have a very strong connection, so we don't really need to talk. We know what we have to do and immediately when I read the scene I know what I had to play."

— Adam Egan, http://www.twitter.com/adamegan

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CHINESE ANIMATION

The Chinese animation franchise "Legend of a Rabbit" launched its sequel in Cannes, treating guests at a party to the trailer, some film clips and a performance by singer Beverly Knight.

"We are here to promote 'Legend of a Rabbit: Martial of Fire', which is the sequel to 'Legend of a Rabbit.' It's an animated film from China which has done very well for us," producer Wang Dafang said at the event.

Rabbits are considered especially lucky in Chinese culture, blessed with talent and fortune.

Both Dafang and director Sun Lijun were especially happy because they recently signed Chinese actor Xu Zheng to play their lead.

"He is the No. 1 star ... right now in China," Lijun said. "We are very happy to have him on the cast. And more great casting news to come."

Lijun didn't want to give too much away about the plot of the film, but shared a few universal themes.

"It is a hero's story. Chinese Kung Fu is a strong element, and humor. It's a triumph over evil," he said.

—Sian Watson, http://www.twitter.com

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