On Thursday, Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux will unveil the lineup for the 2015 event, which kicks off on the Riviera in less than a month. He’ll be accompanied by Pierre Lescure, the new president of the festival — and former Canal Plus chief — who has taken over the role from Gilles Jacob. That much we know. The rest is less certain but, with two days to go, is coming into some focus. The festival itself has been slow to announce any of the particulars that normally come out well ahead of the annual press conference. The Opening Night film, La Tête Haute, for example, was only offered up yesterday — but it has yet to be revealed whether it is in Competition or not. Mad Max: Fury Road will screen out of competition on May 14, in what is one of the more high-profile titles expected, and Joel and Ethan Coen will dually preside over the main jury. While nothing else is set in stone until it falls from Frémaux’s lips, here’s a look at what he might gab about on Thursday, and what we hear he will not.
Among the Hollywood titles expected to grab special berths is Pixar’s Inside Out. The Pete Docter-helmed story that largely takes place in a little girl’s mind had been thought by some to be headed for an Opening Night slot, following in the footsteps of 2009’s Up. Although it’s not the curtain raiser, Inside Out is widely expected to secure an official slot before starting to roll out globally in June. There had also been whispers about Disney’s Tomorrowland with George Clooney possibly making his debut on the Croisette, but that now does not look to be in the cards.
Woody Allen, however, appears a likely Cannes-didate for what would be an out of competition slot — the director is notorious for refusing to run in the horse race. His Irrational Man would bring the likes of Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone to the red carpet. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film July 24.
Roundly cited by watchers is Todd Haynes’ Carol with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The Weinstein Co has domestic. The director was last in Competition with 1998’s Velvet Goldmine. Gus Van Sant’s Sea Of Trees, with Matthew McConaughey, was tubthumped to buyers on the beach in Cannes last year, and the film virtually sold out for then-newbie outfit Bloom immediately following. We hear Frémaux only recently screened it. If Van Sant is selected, it would be the first time since his 2011 Restless appeared in Un Certain Regard. He won the Palme d’Or with Elephant in 2003.
Sticking with English-language, Sean Penn’s Africa-set directing effort The Last Face is looking like a strong possibility. Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Jean Reno and Blue Is The Warmest Color‘s Adèle Exarchopoulos star.
Penn starred in Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be The Place in the 2011 Competition. Sorrentino has been tipped this go-round with his La Giovenezza, which is in English and stars Michael Caine, Paul Dano, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda. This one evidently has been mistakenly going by the title The Early Years, but it indeed is titled Youth in English and would be a perfect fit given the director’s frequent appearances in Cannes — not the least of which was with The Great Beauty, which won the 2013 Oscar for Foreign Language film. The Italian release is May 21.
Italians in general are looking at strong representation. We hear that is a likely contender for a slot. The director, who was jury president in 2012 and won the Palme d’Or in 2001 with The Son’s Room, also stars. The film releases in Italy this week, but according to Cannes rules, that wouldn’t restrict it since movies may go out in their home markets before a Cannes debut (this happens often with Pedro Almodovar and the festival and Spain).
Also from the Boot, Gomorrah helmer Matteo Garrone’s Tale Of Tales is expected to appear. Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, John C Reilly and Toby Jones star in the fantasy that’s sold by Hanway. Italy releases on May 14. Hayek also could be on the red carpet for Septembers Of Shiraz, the thriller from Australian Sapphires director Wayne Blair.
Question marks hang over Brit helmer Ben Wheatley’s tipped tense drama High Rise and Simon Stone’s Oz pic The Daughter with Geoffrey Rush and Sam Neill. Also in the Down Under crowd, Snowtown helmer Justin Kurzel has the Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard-starrer Macbeth teed up, but it’s possible that if it doesn’t get a slot in Cannes, it may go to Venice. Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster with Colin Farrell and Léa Seydoux, which folks have roundly been predicting, is a possibility from UK sales joint Protagonist Pictures.
Denis Villeneuve’s drug-trafficking drama Sicario with Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro looks likely for one of the Official Selection slots. Lionsgate has it dated in September. Villeneuve, an Oscar nominee for 2010’s Incendies, was last in Cannes with 1998’s Un 32 Août Sur Terre in Un Certain Regard.
If Sicario is in, Del Toro could pull double duty with drama A Perfect Day from helmer Fernando León de Aranoa and co-starring Olga Kurylenko and Tim Robbins. From what we hear, this one leans more toward Directors’ Fortnight, whose lineup will be revealed next week. Del Toro again could be in town to support The Little Prince from Kung Fu Panda helmer Mark Osborne. The latter film debuted out of competition in Cannes in 2008, and Frémaux has been high on animation ever since he took over programming the festival in 2001 (and shocked the establishment by putting Shrek in Competition). Paramount’s The Little Prince, based on the classic French book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, also stars the voices of Rachel McAdams, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Jeff Bridges, Paul Giamatti, Ricky Gervais and Albert Brooks. Fun fact: Frémaux hails from the French town of Lyon and the airport there is named after Saint-Exupéry; just sayin’…
There’s a question mark over Cary Fukunaga’s war drama about child African soldiers Beasts Of No Nation. Netflix is releasing and could run into a windows issue in France.
Speaking of beasts, in a special slot that is typically reserved in Un Certain Regard for a Sundance breakout, it’s looking like Me And Earl And The Dying Girl could be this year’s choice. (Benh Zeitlin’s Sundance hit Beasts Of The Southern Wild was selected in 2011.)
Among the other English-language films that have been subject to speculation, we’ve heard that the untitled Terrence Malick project is not expected. Nor is Alejandro Amenabar’s Regression.
Elsewhere, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, who won the Jury Prize with 2013’s Like Father Like Son, is expected in Competition with Our Little Sister.
French helmer Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Belles Familles is looking less likely than previously speculated. But Frémaux, much to the consternation of locals, doesn’t confirm anything on the French titles until he starts picking up the phone at 11 PM on the night before the official announcement. Nevertheless, Philippe Garrel’s L’Ombre Des Femmes is expected, as is Arnaud Desplechin’s Trois Souvenirs De Ma Jeunesse. Guillaume Nicloux’s Valley Of Love is also a strong contender. It stars Gérard Dépardieu and Isabelle Huppert. The latter, a Cannes regular since 1975, is also in Norweigian filmaker Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs which also features Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Ryan and Gabriel Byrne and which we expect to see.
With this festival clearly making an effort to give voice to female filmmakers, it would not be surprising to see Maiwenn’s Mon Roi in an official berth. She won the Jury Prize with Polisse in 2011, and this romantic drama also features that film’s co-scripter (and opening-night helmer) Emmanuelle Bercot alongside Vincent Cassel and Louis Garrel.
Smart money would hedge on enfant terrible Gaspar Noé and Love (although it may not be ready). Blue Ruin helmer Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room could land in the Fortnight. Finally, I hear that Valérie Donzelli’s Marguerite Et Julien, with Deadline’s Cannes 2014 actress to watch Anâis Demoustier, is fantastic.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond contributed to this report.