Beyond the films playing in Cannes Film Festival competition categories is a host of product that buyers will pore over during the next two weeks here on the Croisette. Some of that will be finished films, but a lot more will be based on sizzle reels, or even scripts with talent attachments. Here are the titles being talked up, based on buyers and sellers we’ve spoken to. Not all of these are intended to sell; some will light the fuse for deals post-Cannes, or even at future festivals like Toronto. There are a lot of stars in the mix on these projects.
AMERICAN HERO — Director, Nick Love. Cast: Stephen Dorff, Eddie Griffin star. Comic tale of a reluctant superhero whose exploits are balanced by his appetite for self-destruction. Protagonist selling.
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS — Director: Stephen Frears. Cast: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant. Fact-based story of a New York heiress who wanted to be an opera singer and would not be deterred even though she had a godawful voice. Pathe selling international.
LORDS OF CHAOS — Director: Jonas Åkerlund. Cast: Rory Culkin, Caleb Landry Jones. Teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s results in violent outcome. Protagonist selling international.
THE CIRCLE — Director: James Ponsoldt. Cast: Alicia Vikander, Tom Hanks. Based on Dave Eggers’ novel, the contemporary thriller about life in the digital age focuses on a woman hired for a big job in an Internet monopoly called the Circle. IM Global selling abroad and CAA selling domestic with UTA.
ALL I SEE IS YOU — Director: Marc Forster. Cast: Blake Lively, Jason Clarke. A blind woman’s relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves. Sierra/Affinity is selling abroad, WME Global U.S.
FIFTY SHADES OF BLACK — Director: Mark Tiddes. Cast: Marlon Wayans. Fifty Shades Of Grey spoof. IM Global selling overseas and CAA will make the domestic deal.
HHHH — Director: Cedric Jimenez. Cast: Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell, Jason Clarke. WWII story that centers on the ascension of Reinhard Heydrich (called The Butcher Of Prague) before he was assassinated by resistance paratroopers to become the highest-ranking Nazi officer killed during World War II. WME and FilmNation selling.
DENIAL — Director: Mick Jackson. Cast: Hilary Swank, Tom Wilkinson. Based on Deborah E Lipstadt book on her legal battle for historical truth against David Irving, who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust Denier. Cornerstone Films selling international.
SILENCIO — Director: Pedro Almodovar. Cast: Adriana Ugarte, Emma Suarez. 30 years in Juliet’s life from a nostalgic 1985 when everything seems much better, to 2015, when everything seems beyond repair and she is on the verge of madness. FilmNation selling overseas.
MAGIC CITY — Director: Mitch Glazer. Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Danny Huston, Kelly Lynch. Powerful Miami Beach hotel owner fights the mob, the CIA and Cuban mercenaries for survival in 1962. Lotus Entertainment selling international and CAA is selling domestic.
COMANCHERIA — Director: David Mackenzie; Cast: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges. Two brothers go on a calculated bank robbery spree that puts them in the cross hairs of a West Texas Ranger. CBS Films picked up domestic, and offshore sales are handled by Sierra/Affinity.
BORDER CROSSING — Director: Bette Gordon; Cast: Josh Charles, Julia Stiles. Based on Pat Barker novel about a psychologist who saves a drowning man, only to discover that he’s the same boy he put away for murder 12 years earlier. Electric Entertainment selling abroad.
SHOT CALLER — Director: Ric Roman Waugh. Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Ex-con is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival as feds plot to recapture him. Sierra/Affinity selling foreign.
UNTITLED LUCAS & MOORE COMEDY — Directors-Writers: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore. Cast: Leslie Mann. Salty R-rated comedy about competitive moms and their brats. Block Entertainment selling offshore, and Paramount just acquired U.S. rights.
STOWAWAY — Director: Marcus Nispel. Secrets emerge as a family sets sail on the high seas. Blue Box International selling offshore.
AMERICAN HERO – Director: Nick Love. Cast: Stephen Dorff, Eddie Griffin. Comedic tale of reluctant superhero with appetite for self-destruction. Protagonist selling offshore.
COWBOYS – Director: Thomas Bidegain. Cast: Francois Damiens, Finnegan Oldfield, Agathe Dronne, John C. Reilly. Father sets out to find his missing daughter with the help of his son. Directors’ Fortnight selection, being sold by Pathe.
DISORDER – Director: Alice Winocour, Cast: Diane Kruger, Matthias Schoenarts. Ex-soldier with PTSD is hired to protect the wife and child of a wealthy Lebanese businessman linked to arms dealing. Indie Sales selling pic that is in Un Certain Regard.
GREEN ROOM – Director: Jeremy Saulnier. Cast: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots. Members of a young punk rock band find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence. Pic is in Directors’ Fortnight, and WestEnd is handling offshore and CAA is selling domestic.
THE LOBSTER – Director: Yorgos Lanthimos. Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, John C. Reilly. In a dystopian near future, single people are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days or are transformed into animals and released into the woods. Premiering in competition, CAA is handling domestic, Protagonist offshore sales.
LOVE 3D – Director: Gaspar Noe. Explicitly sexual melodrama about a boy and a girl, and oh, yeah, another girl. Playing Midnight section, with CAA and Wild Bunch tag-teaming on domestic and foreign.
MILES AHEAD – Director-Star: Don Cheadle. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Zoe Saldana. Cheadle gets his dream, playing Miles Davis in an exploration of jazz icon’s life and music. UTA, IM Global selling.
A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS – Director-star: Natalie Portman. Based on Amos Oz memoir about his mother Fania’s struggles with postwar realities while raising her son in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. Voltage handling along with CAA.
ABATTOIR – Director: Darren Lynn Bousman. Boston real-estate reporter unearths an urban legend about someone who has spent decades buying homes where horrific tragedies have occurred in order to build the ultimate haunted house — the Abattoir. Promo being shown and Radical Studios and Versatile selling.
BLEED FOR THIS – Director: Ben Younger. Cast: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Ciaran Hinds. Teller plays boxer Vinny Pazienza and his comeback after near-fatal car crash. CAA, WME and The Solution selling and the promo is getting strong buyer response.
THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER – Director: Brady Corbet, Cast: Robert Pattinson, Berenice Bejo. The childhood life of a a post-World War I leader. WME and Protagonist selling, based on promo reel.
ELVIS & NIXON – Director: Liza Johnson. Cast: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Johnny Knoxville, Emma Roberts. The time when Elvis Presley asked Richard Nixon if he could become undercover FBI agent. CAA, Bloom and Cassian Elwes selling.
THE FAMILY FANG – Director-Star: Jason Bateman. Cast: Christopher Walken. Brother and sister return to their family home in search of their world-famous parents who have disappeared. CAA and Fortitude International are selling.
THE INFILTRATOR – Director: Brad Furman. Cast: Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo. U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. WME and Relativity International selling.
MAGGIE’S PLAN – Director: Rebecca Miller. Cast: Julianne Moore, Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke. Young woman tries to make it on her own in New York City. CAA, Cinetic and Protagonist selling and buyers like this one.
MESSAGE FROM THE KING – Director: Fabrice du Welz., Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Teresa Palmer, Luke Evans. Mysterious outsider named Jacob King from South Africa arrives in Los Angeles to avenge his younger sister’s death. WME and eOne selling.
BECKET – Director: Michael Mann. Writer: William Monahan. Story of the 12th century Archbishop Of Canterbury who enraged King Henry II when he declared fealty to God over the king. CAA selling.
FLAG DAY – Director: Sean Penn. Based on Jennifer Vogel’s memoir of her father John Vogel, who robbed banks, burned down buildings, scammed investors, plotted murder, and single-handedly counterfeited more than $20 million. An American dream story. CAA selling.
IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD – Director: Xavier Dolan. Cast: Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Gaspard Ulliel. French-language drama. After 12 years of absence, a writer goes back to his hometown, planning on announcing his upcoming death to his family. Seville International is selling.
JACKIE – Director: Pablo Llarrain. Cast: Natalie Portman. Jackie Kennedy fights to define her husband’s legacy in the seven days following his assassination. CAA selling.
THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE – Director: Terry Gilliam. Cast: Jack O’Connell, John Hurt. Ad exec time travels to 17th century La Mancha, where Don Quixote mistakes him for Sancho Panza. Kinology selling, based on promo.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS – Director: Tom Ford. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams. Susan Morrow receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband’s first novel and is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings. As his ordinary, civilized life is violently sent off course, Susan is forced to confront her own past. CAA and FilmNation selling what is considered the fest’s hot title coming in.
THE OPERATOR – Brad Pitt, starring in rise and fall of Gen. Stanley McCrystal, running the war in Afghanistan as he gave unwise interview to Rolling Stone. CAA selling.
TRUE CRIMES – Director: Alexandro Avranas. Cast: Jim Carrey. A murder investigation of a slain business man turns to clues found in an author’s book about an eerily similar crime. Based on David Grann’s 2008 New Yorker article.
BRAIN ON FIRE – Director: Gerard Barrett. Cast: Dakota Fanning, Will Poulter. True story of a vibrant young woman whose life is suddenly taken over by an inexplicable illness and gradually pushes her into madness. Showcase for that adorable young actress from Man On Fire, now an adult. WME and Mister Smith selling.
DEEP WATER – Director: James Marsh. Cast: Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz. True story of Donald Crowhurst, who battled the establishment, his own demons and the elements in the first single-handed, round-the-world yacht race in 1968. StudioCanal selling.
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN – Director: Simon Curtis. How AA Milne created Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son Christopher Robin. Pathe selling.
MANHUNT – Director: John Woo. Remake of the 1976 Japanese thriller, about a prosecutor framed for rape, murder and robbery who sets out to clear his name. Media Asia selling.