A number of well-known Hollywood stars attended the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia, which took place from November 30th to December 9th in the port city of Jeddah. Michelle Williams (43), Chris Hemsworth (40), Johnny Depp (60) and Halle Berry (57) were photographed on the red carpet. As “Variety” reports, the actors were reportedly able to enjoy lavish pay for this. According to anonymous sources, Will Smith (55) is said to have received around one million US dollars (around 910,000 euros) and was accommodated in a luxury hotel. His colleague Gwyneth Paltrow (51), who has actually sworn off the acting industry for years, is said to have received even more, according to the report.

This year’s guest list signals “a dramatic turnaround in relations” between Saudi Arabia and the dream factory compared to five years ago, writes the industry journal. After the anti-government journalist Jamal Khashoggi (1958-2018) was murdered, many in Hollywood broke off contacts.

Business between Saudi Arabia and Hollywood had therefore declined to a minimum, which now appears to be changing again. Former Warner Bros. production president Greg Silverman has signed a pact with Film AlUla for 10 projects over a three-year period, according to Variety. There have also been rumors for several weeks that the country wants to buy a major studio, namely Paramount. They would also have kept an eye on the Golf Channel, which belongs to Comcast.

“Variety” also reports, citing anonymous sources, that “half a dozen high-profile directors” want to travel to Saudi Arabia in March to visit modern sound stages there. “Elvis” director Baz Luhrmann (61), who served as jury president at the festival, told the industry newspaper that he traveled to the country before his engagement. “The idea of ​​doing something here appeals to me,” he explained.