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With the 2022 edition of the Berlinale having drawn to a close and — due to its omicron-impacted, scaled-back nature — perhaps not providing the sort of film fest buzz many had hoped for, eyes are now turning towards Cannes as an opportunity to finally fire up the all-star, post-pandemic big guns.
Organizers are currently gearing up for an in-person event May 17-28, an edition of the French festival that much of the industry is hoping will be the first grand and truly global movie get-together in more than two years.
But the question remains, which films will be going and which major names could be skipping up the Palais steps for an embrace — or elbow tap — with Thierry Fremaux?
While it’ll likely be at a month or two before any official announcements are made, The Hollywood Reporter has put together an entirely theoretical lineup of films that could be in contention for an official selection slot.
It’s an impressive list of features, including the latest from the likes of Baz Luhrmann, David Cronenberg, Kelly Reichardt, Ruben Östlund, Maria Schrader, Luca Guadagnino, Wes Anderson, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Florian Zeller, with stars such as Tom Hanks, Kristen Stewart, Tom Cruise, Carey Mulligan, Timothee Chalamet, Margot Robbie, Michelle Williams, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern.
It’s also — it should be noted — a list based on little more than production statuses, industry rumors, wild speculation and THR‘s own wish list of films the team would like to see help mark the triumphant return of the most famous film festival on the planet. So, essentially, it should be taken with a very large pinch of salt.
Here goes the list:
ELVIS — Baz Luhrmann
Luhrmann opened Cannes in spectacular fashion with both Moulin Rouge! in 2001 and The Great Gatsby in 2013, and this would make it a music-soaked curtain-raising trio. It would also seem to be exactly the right sort of glitzy affair organizers might want to kick things off with to help shake off the last couple of years (and its just-released first trailer has got a lot people rather excited). Starring Austin Butler as The King and a cast that also includes Tom Hanks, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and current Oscar contender Kodi Smit-McPhee from Power of the Dog, Elvis would make for one enviable opening-night ticket. Warner Bros. currently has the film dated for a June 24 release, which ties in very nicely.
SHE SAID — Maria Schrader
The hotly-anticipated adaptation of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s book detailing their work to expose Harvey Weinstein’s long history of abuse and sexual misconduct, Schrader’s film — starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the two New York Times journalists, and produced by Brad Pitt — would seem a shoo-in for a competition slot if it’s ready in time.
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE — David Cronenberg
It’s been 10 years since Cronenberg last brought a film to Cannes — the Robert Pattinson starrer Cosmopolis — and 26 years since he won the special jury prize with Crash. His latest — a horror outing that shot last year in Greece — would mark a very welcome return and tick a few solid Croisette boxes, with a cast that includes festival favorites Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart. Neon has this one for the U.S., with no release date yet set.
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS — Ruben Östlund
Östlund’s long-awaited follow-up to his Palme d’Or-winning The Square — which this time sticks a darkly satirical pin into the world of the rich and fabulous and involves a fight for survival on a desert island — was shot back in 2020, so should already be ready to go. Given Östlund’s solid Cannes credentials, many are considering this among the rare certainties for a competition slot.
THE SON — Florian Zeller
French playwright-turned-filmmaker Zeller made a major impact with his debut feature The Father, which earned a best adapted screenplay Oscar and a best actor for Anthony Hopkins in 2021. His follow-up, The Son — starring Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern and Vanessa Kirby and shot last year — would be a buzzy addition to the lineup, but whether it’ll be ready in time remains to be seen.
SHOWING UP — Kelly Reichardt
It’s been 14 years since Reichardt and her regular collaborator Michelle Williams came to Cannes (with the heartbreaking Wendy and Lucy), and the two would be welcome returnees with their latest feature. The A24 title — following an artist on the verge of a career-changing exhibition — wrapped in Oregon last year and would seem ideal main competition material.
ASTEROID CITY — Wes Anderson
Could Anderson be heading straight back to Cannes just a year after The French Dispatch? Asteroid City wrapped in Spain last fall, so it’s not the most unlikely of considerations. The only question is whether the red carpet at the Palais is big enough for its cast, which is preposterous even by Anderson’s standards. Starring in this romantic comedy-drama, to name but a few names, are Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Adrien Brody, Bill Murray (obviously), Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Bryan Cranston, Matt Dillon and Maya Hawke.
TOP GUN: MAVERICK — Joseph Kosinski
Is Top Gun: Maverick Cannes’ big splashy studio shindig? Following several COVID-impacted delays and a release date now set for May 27 (two days before the festival closes), it doesn’t seem remotely far-fetched and could add some solid Riviera-style turbo power to the global rollout plans for Paramount’s long-awaited sequel. Cruise on the Croisette would certainly add some much-needed star power to the proceedings.
LIGHTYEAR — Angus MacLane
Disney used Cannes to great effect back in 2015 with Inside Out, which went on to earn more than $850 million following its premiere at the Palais. Could it again use the South of France as a launchpad for its latest Pixar outing, the Toy Story spin-off Lightyear? Starring the voice of Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear, the film is due out June 17, the exact same weekend as Inside Out seven years earlier. Coincidence? Not really — Pixar has that slot every year.
BARDO — Alejandro González Iñárritu
Iñárritu would be a huge get for Cannes, with the five-time Oscar winner having been quiet since having back-to-back hits with Birdman and The Revenant (although he did swing by the festival with a short VR experience in 2017). A very different offering, Bardo — or to give it its full name, Bardo (Or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths) — is a “nostalgic comedy” following a renowned Mexican journalist/documentary filmmaker who returns to his native country to face his own past and the country’s current reality. The film — which could well be Iñárritu’s Roma moment — wrapped last fall.
THE STARS AT NOON — Claire Denis
French auteur Denis was just in Berlin with the romantic drama Fire (aka Both Sides of the Blade), but could achieve a rare A-list fest one-two if she manages to edit her English-language debut in time. Starring Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley, the A24 film — which shot last year in Panama — is based on Denis Johnson’s novel and is set in 1984 Nicaragua during the Sandinista-led revolution.
BONES AND ALL — Luca Guadagnino
Guadagnino might be more of a Venice guy, but a Cannes invitation could sway the director. This romance-horror — shot last year with a cast that includes Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Andre Holland and Chloe Sevigny — would seem perfect Palais material and is packing enough star power (ok, mostly Chalamet) to get the Croisette ladders up early.
ON BARREN WEEDS — Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Ceylan brought his last three films to Cannes, winning the Palme in 2014 for Winter Sleep. If his latest feature, about a teacher doing compulsory service in remote Anatolia, is ready, it’s likely a dead cert for the main competition.
EMILY — Frances O’Connor
Sex Education star Emma Mackie was one of the standouts in Kenneth Branagh’s latest Agatha Christie adaptation, Death on the Nile, and could mark her Cannes debut as Emily Bronte in this biopic of the British author. Dunkirk breakout Fionn Whitehead — last at the festival with 2019’s Port Authority — also stars.
GOD’S CREATURES — Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer
Starring Emily Watson, Paul Mescal and Aisling Franciosi, this Irish psychological drama has all the credentials for a trip to France, backed by A24 and with Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, whose credits include Ammonite and Lady Macbeth, producing.
ENYS MEN — Mark Jenkin
Jenkin made a huge splash with his acclaimed BAFTA-winning debut feature Bait, filmed on 16mm monochrome and painstakingly hand processed. His follow-up — a 1970s-set horror also shot in his native Cornwall may well be complete in time to take a trip over the Channel.
OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN — Rebecca Zlotowski
After launching films in the Critics’ Week, Un Certain Regard and Directors’ Fortnight sidebars, it could be time for French director Zlotowski, last in Cannes with 2019’s Easy Girl, to take a step up to the main competition. Starring Virginie Efira — in town last year with Benedetta — Other People’s Children follows a childless 40-year-old who forms a strong bond with her new partner’s young daughter.
REVOIR PARIS — Alice Winocour
Another Cannes regular having brought her debut feature Augustine to the Critics’ Week competition in 2012 and 2015’s Maryland to the Un Certain Regard sidebar, Winocour would seem a healthy festival bet for her fourth feature. Revolving around a woman caught up in a terrorist attack on a Parisian brasserie, the film — which wrapped in December — also stars Virginie Efira.
DON JUAN — Serge Bozon
Yet another Virginie Efira feature? The Belgian actress could be putting triple duty on the Croisette if THR’s speculating sleuths are correct. Bozon’s fourth feature (his first two, France and Tip Top were well-received in 2007 and 2013, respectively, in the Directors’ Fortnight), is a contemporary musical take on the Don Juan story, starring Tahar Rahim and Efira as the love-me-hate-me couple.
BLONDE — Andrew Dominik
There’s been plenty of chatter in the trades about the prospect of Dominik’s much-anticipated NC-17 Marilyn Monroe biopic — starring Ana de Armas as the Hollywood icon — heading to Cannes. While a final cut of the film, which was shot in 2019, is reportedly now locked, it’s also a Netflix title, which would require a major about-face from the festival (which hasn’t had a Netflix title in the official selection for five years). However, if the no-Netflix films rule is scrapped and a deal is struck with French distributors, all bets are off and this entire speculative list could be thrown into the air. Knives Out 2 for opening night?
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