The Cannes Film Festival is hoping to attract the likes of Baz Luhrmann, George Miller and David Cronenberg for its 75th anniversary. The milestone edition of the sun-dappled celebration of all things cinema may even land a megastar in the form of Tom Cruise, who festival organizers are banking can be convinced to unveil “Top Gun: Maverick,” giving Cannes the kind of blowout premiere that makes the French festival an unforgettable experience.
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17 to May 28, and the full selection will be revealed in the third week of April. Of course, things can shift, and movies that were expected to hit the Croisette may end up taking a detour, either because they won’t be finished in time or because their teams rethought their rollout plans. That said, Variety has collected intel from a bevy of well-informed sources to come up with the most reported list so far of hotly anticipated titles that we expect to see this May in the South of France.
Sources tell Variety that Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux is hoping to select a female jury president, and insiders say Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz are among the names that have been discussed so far. Both have movies being considered for the Official Selection, with Cotillard starring in Arnaud Desplechin’s “Brother and Sister” and Cruz appearing Emanuele Crialese’s “L’immensità.” In order for either Cruz or Cotillard to preside over the jury, their films would need to play out of competition.
While the volume of film submissions for Cannes is on par with pre-pandemic levels, the 2022 edition will likely boast a larger American presence than in 2021. Several studio movies are looking to premiere on the French Riviera, insiders say.
Elsewhere, Variety has confirmed that Claire Denis’ “Stars at Noon” and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “On Barren Weeds” — both of which are still in post-production — won’t be playing in the French Riviera this May.
Denis said at the Berlinale presser for her latest film “Both Sides of the Blade” that “Stars at Noon,” starring Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn, was still in early post-production and suggested it wouldn’t open at Cannes. Meanwhile, a source close to the production of “On Barren Weeds” said the movie requires heavy post-production work and would be a likely contender at Cannes in 2023.
Other movies that may unspool in the fall include Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City,” which isn’t eyeing a Cannes debut despite previous reports; and Maria Schrader’s “She Said,” which has a Nov. 18 release. As previously reported by VarietyNetflix will also skip the festival due to the country’s windowing rule, meaning Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde” won’t play there.
Nonetheless, Cannes will still have plenty of glitzy titles to chose from. Here are some of the titles that are likely in consideration:
“Top Gun: Maverick”
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly
This is the “planetary blockbuster” Thierry Fremaux has been dreaming of since 2020, and he was already in a process of securing it for an out-ofcompetition slot back in 2020 before the festival’s edition was scrapped due to the physical pandemic. After several delays, Paramount has now dated the film for May 27, just a couple days before the end of the festival.
Director: James Gray
Cannes has been trying to lure back Gray for years and it’s got a good chance of succeeding with “Armageddon Time,” a coming-of-age tale set in Queens in the 1980s (Donald Trump and his father Fred are ancillary figures). Although the movie is still in post, it should be ready by May. Gray, who previously suggested he had a painful experience world-premiering “The Immigrant” at Cannes in 2013, is now open to the idea of returning to the festival with this more intimate film which is expected to be his strongest film since “Two Lovers .”
Director: Florian Zeller
Zeller, whose feature debut “The Father” is world-premiered at Venice and went on to win two Oscars, is looking to have his sophomore film, “The Son,” open at Cannes. The movie, which shot in London and is — like “The Father” — adapted from a Zeller stage play, is currently in post. Zeller is working on the original score with a prestigious composer.
“Three Thousand Years of Longing”
Director: George Miller
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba
This film, which has been under the radar, is an epic fantasy romance. It’s a smaller yet ambitious movie by Miller, a Cannes regular. He even served as jury president in 2016 and his latest film “Mad Max: Fury Road” played at the fest in 2015.
“Crimes of the Future”
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen
The science-fiction thriller would mark Cronenberg’s comeback to the Croisette 10 years after “Cosmopolis.” The film, which reunites Cronenberg and Mortensen, who last worked together on “A Dangerous Method,” is set in a distant future where humans have evolved beyond their natural state.
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Natasha Bassett
Although Luhrmann opened Cannes with a bang with “Moulin Rouge!” in 2001 and “The Great Gatsby” in 2013, this highly anticipated biopic headlined by Austin Butler as The King can’t open the festival because of its June 24 release date. The festival has had a new rule in recent years which requires the opening night movie to premiere in French theaters on the same day. That said, the Warner Bros. film will likely world premiere at the festival.
Director: Angus MacLane
Voice cast: Taika Waititi, Chris Evans, Keke Palmer
“Lightyear,” Pixar’s upcoming origin story of “Toy Story” favorite character, is expected to world premiere out of competition at the festival, continuing the long tradition of Disney/Pixar family-friendly movies which have opened at the Cannes. Although the festival is a primary showcase for auteur movies worldwide, it’s also proven to be a glossy launchpad for animated blockbusters, notably “Up,” which even opened the fest in 2009, and “Inside Out” in 2015.
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Stars: Michelle Williams, John Magaro, James Le Gros
The A24 film portraying Williams as an artist on the verge of a career-changing exhibition. Reichardt, who was last in competition with another Williams-fronted film, “Wendy and Lucy,” could be one of the several women directors to be featured in the lineup.
“Tori et Lokita”
Director: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
The two-time Palme d’Or-winning brothers are expected to return to the Croisette with their latest politically-minded film which follows the friendship between two young refugees from Africa who became exiled in Belgium. The Dardennes brothers were last in Cannes with their 2019 film “Ahmed” which revolved around a young man getting radicalized.
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Stars: Penelope Cruz
Cruz, who’s just earned an Oscar nominated for her performance in Pedro Almodovar’s Cannes-premiering “Parallel Mothers,” stars in this 1970s-set Italian movie directed by Crialese, the critically acclaimed helmer of “Respiro.” The Pathé movie, which has been submitted to Cannes, delivers an intimate portrait of a family in the 1970s, depicting Italian society at a turning point.
“Baby, Box, Broker”
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Stars: Song Kang-ho (“Parasite”), Bae Doona (“Cloud Atlas,” “The Host”), Gang Dong-won (“Peninsula,” “The Priests”).
Kore-eda, who was last at Cannes in 2018 with his Palme d’Or-winning “Shoplifters,” is expected to return with his Korean-language debut, “Baby, Box, Broker.” The film follows a group of individuals who cross paths in a world where boxes are left out for people to anonymously drop off their unwanted babies.
“Decision to Leave”
Director: Park Chan-wook
Stars: Tang Wei (“Lust, Caution,” “Black Hat”) and Korean actor Park Hye-il (“The Host”)
The celebrated Korean director of “Oldboy” and “The Handmaiden” is expected at Cannes with this new film which turns on a diligent detective who is investigating a possible murder case in the mountainous countryside.
“Triangle of Sadness”
Director: Ruben Ostlund
Stars: Woody Harrelson
Ostlund, who won’t Cannes’ Palme d’Or with his last film “The Square” in 2017, wrapped shooting his ambitious satire “Triangle of Sadness” a year and a half ago and is currently working on trimming his three-hour cut. Starring Harrelson as a rabid Marxist who is the captain of a cruise for the super-rich, the movie was shot on a deserted island in Greece and on board the Christina O, a prestigious yacht whose passengers have included Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.
Untitled “Hamlet” adaptation
Director: Ali Abbasi
Stars: Noomi Rapace
Swedish-Danish-Iranian filmmaker Abbasi won’t Cannes’ Un Certain Regard prize with “Border” and could make his debut in competition at this year’s festival with this genre twist on William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” headlined by Rapace.
Director: Lola Quivoron
Every year, Cannes’ competition turns the spotlight on a young director making a daring feature debut, for instance Ladj Ly’s “Les Miserables.” This year’s roster could boast Quivoron’s “Rodeo,” which is produced by “Annette” producer Charles Gillibert and revolves around a young woman who infiltrates an underground dirt bike community in France. Quivoron is one of the several female directors anticipated in the Official Selection. With women winning the top prizes at Cannes (Julia Ducournau’s “Titane,”) Venice (Audrey Diwan’s “Happening”) and this year’s Berlin (Claire Denis’s Both Sides of the Blade”), Fremaux will likely ramp up the gender balance, especially in competition.
Manori Ravindran, Peter Debruge, Brent Lang and Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.