PARIS (REUTERS) — American actor/ director Woody Allen will open the Cannes film festival May 15 with his comedy “Hollywood Ending,” marking the first time the veteran star has attended the festival, organizers said Thursday. The film stars Allen, Tea Leoni, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, George Hamilton and Treat Williams and is scheduled to open first in the United States in early May. It will be shown out of competition.

Previous Allen films shown at Cannes include “Manhattan,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo” and “Hannah and her Sisters,” but the publicity-shy director has declined to attend the screenings.

“The French were my first supporters and have always showed huge generosity toward me,” Allen was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Over the last few years, they have invited me so many times that I now want to offer them something in return: I will therefore come personally to present my film ?Hollywood Ending,? which I think will be perfect for the event.”

Allen, who makes on average one film per year, has rarely achieved commercial success on his home turf but has reaped critical and audience praise in Europe.
Gilles Jacob, the festival?s organizer, said that seeing the diminutive Allen in the flesh would be “almost unimaginable, a quasi-supernatural spectacle.”