Benicio Del Toro will preside over the jury of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard strand eight years after he served on the Cannes Competition jury which selected Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee (The One Who Can Recall His Past Lives) as the winner of the Palme d’Or.
In 2008, Del Toro received the award for Best Actor in Cannes for his role as Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s two-part film Che. He has attended the festival in the past for screenings of The Usual Suspects, The Pledge (2001), Sin City (2005) and more recently, Sicario (2015) which was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or. Del Toro’s appointment by the festival may be an indication that we’ll see that film’s sequel Sicario 2: Soldado on the Riviera.
Del Toro takes over from Uma Thurman, who was president in 2017 of a jury that awarded prizes to Mohammad Rasoulof, Jasmine Trinca, Mathieu Amalric, Taylor Sheridan and Michel Franco. As the second competition within the Official Selection, Un Certain Regard will once again feature around twenty films.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Pennsylvania, Del Toro is perhaps best known for playing a mild mannered gangster in Usual Suspects, an agent in a Mexican drug squad in Traffic, for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and an ex-convict turned fundamentalist in 21 Grams. He also recently appeared in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
According to the festival, Del Toro, who started out wanting to be a basketball player, is “a great admirer of Jean Vigo and Charlie Chaplin and would have loved to have met Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Toshiro Mifune or Humphrey Bogart. When he was 20 years old, he discovered The 400 Blows and the infinite universe of Fellini, Eisenstein, Bergman, Eustache, Kurosawa… The Naked Island of Kaneto Shindô became his go-to film.”