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Police: Man who fired blanks on Cannes set 'wanted to change world'

By Laura Smith-Spark and Bharati Naik, CNN
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Mon May 20, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A 43-year-old suspect is due to appear in court Sunday, a police spokesman says
  • The man fired two rounds from a starter pistol on a Canal+ set in Cannes, police say
  • Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil were doing a live interview at the time
  • Canal+ anchor tells viewers: "The shots fired were blanks and the grenade was fake"

(CNN) -- A man arrested at Cannes Film Festival after firing a gun loaded with blanks during a live TV interview is due to appear in court Sunday, Cannes police said.

Canal+ was interviewing Christoph Waltz, who won the Academy Award for best supporting actor in "Django Unchained," and actor Daniel Auteuil when a man fired two shots from a starter pistol on Friday, according to authorities and the French television station.

The man allegedly had a dummy grenade in one hand, and footage and images of the incident showed Waltz and Auteuil being taken offstage and attendees scrambling for cover.

The 43-year-old suspect, who fired twice into the air, told police he believed in God and wanted to change the world, a Cannes police spokesman said Saturday.

He has been examined by a psychiatrist who concluded that he "is not mentally ill," the spokesman said.

Thieves steal red-carpet jewels at Cannes

Many police officers were present at the time of the shooting and the suspect was caught immediately, he said.

The court is expected to consider the case against the man, who remains in custody but whose name has not been made public, on Sunday, he said.

Celebrity sightings at Cannes

'Fake grenade'

The incident, which occurred on the Canal+ set along the popular Promenade de la Croisette -- the main boulevard in Cannes -- briefly interrupted the show.

But Canal+ anchor Michel Denisot came back on the air a short time later and told viewers: "The shots fired were blanks and the grenade was fake. That's what we know."

No injuries were reported.

Pictures of the arrest obtained by The Hollywood Reporter showed police wrestling the man to the ground.

The man said to a woman next to him, 'If I were you, I wouldn't stick around here'," Denisot later told France 24.

It was far from the typical scripted fare of the Cannes Film Festival, where chaos plays out on screen and not among the audience.

The annual festival brings together the rich and famous from around the world for movie screenings and glittering parties.

Stolen jewels

Earlier the same day, police in Nice said that more than $1 million in jewels belonging to the Swiss firm Chopard had been stolen from a hotel room in Cannes.

Chopard later said in a statement that the value of the stolen pieces was "far lower than those in the figures circulating in the media."

The theft of the jewels occurred Thursday night, on the second day of the festival, which opened Wednesday and runs through May 26.

Commandant Bernard Mascarelli, of the Nice police, said the jewelry was stolen from a room in the Suite Novotel hotel on Boulevard Carnot in Cannes.

A Chopard employee who was staying in the room left it for several hours to go to dinner, he said. She returned to discover the whole safe containing the jewels had been unscrewed and taken away.

No detailed description has yet been given of the stolen jewels, but a Chopard spokeswoman said they were not part of the firm's "Red Carpet Collection 2013" and were not due to be worn by any actresses in Cannes.

Chopard, which is an official sponsor of the festival, has provided the Palme d'Or trophy awarded to the director of the best feature film for the past 15 years. The trophy features a 24-carat gold palm attached to a piece of cut crystal.

CNN's Chelsea J. Carter, Pierre Meilhan and Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

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