Cannes 2014! My Classic Arnold Schwarzenegger Encounter! Big Star Planet Hollywood Shenanigans!

To honor the opening night of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, I present you three people who, at one time, OWNED Cannes!

stallone willis schwarzenegger

All Hail The Last Action Heroes – And Their Restaurant!

Here’s a story of how I got to hang out with the world’s biggest stars – at a time when their careers were at all-time highs, a more innocent time when “theme restaurants” like Hard Rock Cafe, The Fashion Cafe and Planet Hollywood were the rage…

There was a time when these guys ruled the world. And I got the chance to hang out with them at the greatest place in the world for movie buffs:

Cannes France!

cannes france french riviera

Welcome to the French Rivera, one of the most beautiful places on earth…and it just happens to host the world’s greatest film festival as well:

The Cannes Film Festival!

2014 Cannes is now officially underway! For two weeks a year, the great film makers in the world showcase their greatest work for the world’s film critics…

Festival de Cannes

The Legendary Carlton Hotel!

It was a time when we got to interview big stars at places like this:

Cannes Carlton Hotel signage

My great Host Michael Castner called it his “home away from home” when he was at the festival – the Carlton hotel housed us, and hosted tons of stars, parties, and all things film festival…

Us in Cannes

The great thing about attending Cannes was the chance to see movies months before anyone else – as we did when we got to see “Pulp Fiction” a full five months before anyone else…even if that meant hanging our in stairwells waiting for the screening to begin…

Alex duda Cannes

The Cannes Color Code!

Still, that was all part of the adventure of Cannes – the crowds, the police, the passes that were distributed in different colors – and if you had a pink pass, you got in before the people with a blue pass….and oh my, you didn’t get in ANYWHERE with a lowly yellow pass…

Cannes film festival

As the latest festival gets underway, it’s fun to look back at the fun times I had working in Cannes, along with Alex, Michael and a number of great people!

classic Cannes moment


Of course, for every moment of down time, there were dozens of interviews to conduct, and photo shoots to cover – like the interview we did with one of my favorite Actors, Malcolm McDowell…

Malcolm McDowell in Cannes

We even covered the more salacious photo shoots that took place on the beach, the ones that usually included a topless starlet trying to get some attention…

Cannes topless crowd

I was lucky enough to work with two other amazing professionals over in Cannes as well: E! News Hosts Jules Asner and Steve Kmetko…

Jules and Steve

We filmed E! News Daily in Cannes during the festival, and Jules and Steve had dozens of interview to conduct and parties to cover – as it really is a film festival that never slows down….still, we always managed to find time for a few fun photos…


When Michael wasn’t trying to hide, he was talking to some of th biggest stars in the world…

Michael With Jean-Claude Van Damme!

Speaking of action heroes, here’s Michael at the famed Hotel du Cap outside Cannes with Jean-Claude Van Damme – at the time one of the hottest action stars in the world!

movie star interviews

Of course, while he was doing the interview, Alex had a moment to grab a candid shot with our co-worker Gary Snegaroff…

Jean-Claude Van Damme in Cannes

We had a great time hanging out with these stars, but sometimes, things got a bit dicey…

The Classic Interview – Michael With Arnold!

So here is how my first Arnold Schwarzenegger encounter played out: we were filming at the film festival, and there was a HUGE press event with Arnold – to announce the very first Planet Hollywood restaurant!

Arnold Schwarzenegger

More on Planet Hollywood in a moment! After the huge press event at the Carlton – where Arnold announced the concept of the restaurants and posed for thousands of pictures, a select group of media were allowed to meet Arnold personally for a very short interview behind the hotel.

As you can see, Michael spoke to Arnold first, while I watched from the left…that is our great friend Carl Allman filming it by the way…

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Cannes

After a very short interview, our friend Ed Flaherty, who was also filming for CNN, asked if he could jump in and ask one question as we were still rolling…and he did, but then he asked another, and another, and another, until Arnold looked over at his Press rep Charlotte and said – very loudly, and in a very recognizable Ahhh-nold tone:

“What’s this? First one question, then two questions, now six questions. Charlotte, I’m leaving in ten minutes. PLAN YOUR TIME.”


I looked around and saw 5 other entertainment outlets waiting to interview Arnold – needless to say, we got yelled at later for sabotaging everyone else’s time….but that is what Cannes was all about – getting your interview no matter what!

Oh, and that wasn’t Arnold’s first time in Cannes…he was there in 1977 as well!

arnold schwarzenegger in cannes 1977

Arnold was always gracious, professional, and focused on his job – selling whatever he was promoting – and he did it well!

Welcome To Planet Hollywood!

As I said, I was at the first press event to announce Planet Hollywood. It was the beginning of a long friendship with Arnold, Sly, Bruce and the other stars.

stallone willis schwarzenegger

While I was at E!, we produced specials on the openings of a myriad of Planet Hollywood restaurants, including the first ones in New York and London!

London 1993

As you can see, we were a hard working group – there is Michael Castner of course, and Alex, along with George, Gary and Oscar too!

If you want to read more about the Planet Hollywood opening in London, read my “Mel Gibson encounter” as well as the great Joe Ezterhas e-book “Heaven And Mel” – click on that story here!

We were inside the opening of Planet Hollywood London – interviewing all of the stars for a one hour special – we also cooked with Arnold and Sly before the doors opened…it was a lot of fun, and those early specials were very popular – helping fuel the worldwide expansion of the chain…

Planet Hollywood London 1993

More Planet Hollywood Memories – With Jenna Jameson!

A few years later, I ended up at the opening of Planet Hollywood in Singapore and Bangkok – with Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jackie Chan and more!

Sylvester Stallone Jenna Jameson

And this time, I had a more unusual choice for host…

Jenna Jameson Interviews Sly and Bruce!

And if you haven’t read my post about my trip to those Asian outposts with my Host Jenna Jameson, then click on here to read about that very funny adventure!

Jenna hosting our E! coverage was a great memory from my time at E!, and as always, Planet Hollywood turned the stars out for us – here she is interviewing Bruce Willis!

Jenna Jameson Bruce Willis

At one point, Planet Hollywood was one of the most successful restaurant chains in the world! They were always terrific to work with, and I still have several jackets from various locations…


I got to hang out with Schwarzenegger many more times, but I will always remember the first interview, when Charlotte had to “plan her time!”

Arnold Schwarzenegger Cannes

And here is Michael Castner’s great photo from Cannes 1994 when he was mobbed by fans:

Michael Castner Cannes 1994

Michael claims the crowd thought he was George Michael – but I say they were cheering him! He was very recognizable in Cannes after the first few years of our festival coverage…and we always had a hectic, intense, and hilarious time there! And of course, I got to hang out with a number of other unique people in Cannes as well – such as the night we partied with Prince Albert of Monaco!


My Night In Cannes With Prince Albert Of Monaco!

You can thank Carl Allman for this adventure as well – and you can read all about it here:

Those trips to the Cannes Film Festival were some of the greatest trips I’ve taken – in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Cannes Old Town

And here’s a look at more of my adventures in Cannes – including my look up Jack Nicholson’s NOSE!

Let me know what you think!

arnold schwarzenegger in cannes 1977

Categories: Action Films, Books / Media, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy Movies, Exotic Travel, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Food, Great Films, London, Movies, New York, Obscure Movies, Restaurants, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, TV Show, Uncategorized, Wacky Food

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4 replies


  1. Education Of A Schwarzenegger! Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Book! First Movie! | johnrieber
  2. Cannes 2016! Remembering Joan Rivers! Jenna Jameson! My Seven Greatest Cannes Film Festival Moments! Arnold Schwarzenegger! JCVD! My Favorite Cannes! – johnrieber
  3. Cannes Film Festival 2020 Cancelled! 20 Years Ago, My Trip To Cannes With Joan And Melissa Rivers! – johnrieber
  4. A Classic Memory In Cannes With “The Mask!” Jim Carrey’s Hilarious E! Interview! Cameron Diaz Too! – johnrieber

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