Date: 15th May 2003

Meg Ryan Dismisses Cannes Boycott Talk

Meg Ryan has dismissed talk of a Hollywood boycott of the Cannes Film Festival as she took up her role on the Palme d'Or jury.

Ryan and Ocean's Eleven director Steven Soderbergh are the two US representatives on the nine-person international jury.

There has been talk in recent weeks that many American actors and film-makers would stay away from the festival in protest at French opposition to the war in Iraq.

But Ryan said the event should be viewed simply as a celebration of film and did not want it to be caught up with politics.

"Surely we are here to celebrate the creative process. That's why I'm here and I'm very happy to be here," she said at the festival's opening press conference.

Soderbergh, a previous Palme d'Or winner for his debut film Sex, Lies And Videotape, said he felt under no pressure from Hollywood to boycott the event.

He said: "Nobody said anything to me about not coming to the festival. I knew as soon as I was asked that I was coming to sit on the jury."

The jury will judge the 20 films in the running for the prestigious Palme d'Or prize.

Besides Ryan and Soderbergh, it includes Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai and legendary French film-maker Jean Rochefort.

Source: Press Release