April 3, 2009 / 9:15 PM / 10 years ago

Film industry abuzz about possible Cannes lineup

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - As spring dawns, so does one of the film world’s biggest questions, namely — what’s in the Cannes?

Actor Brad Pitt appears for a photo op before a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on "Make it Right," a project launched in 2007 to construct affordable and environmentally-sustainable housing for low-income residents of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina, in the U.S. Capitol in Washington March 5, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley

The official announcement from Cannes film festival head Thierry Fremaux and his team of programmers regarding what’s in store for the annual cinephile gathering won’t take place for three weeks. But filmmakers, executives and sales agents are already buzzing about what will unspool at the event in May.

The consensus is a slate that mixes auteur fare and star-driven movies, though one that’s a little light on high-profile U.S. films.

The most prominent motion picture, at least from a star-power standpoint, won’t even have its main player there, as Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” the last film from Heath Ledger, is expected to make its debut.

In addition to Gilliam’s first appearance on the Croisette in more than a decade, a “Parnassus” debut also would offer the prospect of several stars — including Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law — who all stepped in to play different parts of Ledger’s role after the actor died last year.

Aside from Pixar’s “Up,” the animated film that will open Cannes, the festival has yet to confirm entrants. Still, many films are seen as probable candidates.

On the U.S. side, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro,” which the director plans on self-distributing, is a strong bet to land at Cannes. The movie starring Vincent Gallo and an international ensemble cast, tells the story of rivalry between artists in an Italian family.

Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds,” the Brad Pitt movie about a rogue group of American soldiers fighting Nazis in World War II, has been pegged as a Cannes title for several months and is expected to be at the festival.

Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” is seen as a strong candidate, assuming the director can finish it in time for the May debut.

High-profile directors from a host of international territories will be on the Riviera to unspool their efforts, including Alejandro Amenabar, who will likely premiere his big-budget “Agora,” a historical drama starring Rachel Weisz.

Briton Ken Loach is an odds-on bet to debut “Looking for Eric,” about a soccer fan who is down on his luck but receives advice from a famous player.

Loach’s countryman Philip Ridley and countrywoman Andrea Arnold are said to have a good shot, too, with dramas “Heartless” and “Fish Tank,” respectively.

Other directors widely considered to be in the mix include Australian Jan Campion with her first feature in six years, “Bright Star,” as well as Spain’s Pedro Almodovar with “Broken Embraces” and Lars von Trier with “Antichrist.”

Among the French filmmakers, auteur Jaco van Dormael is expected to unspool his interlocking, time-jumping story “Mr. Nobody,” starring Jared Leto, while “Amelie” director Jean-Pierre Jeunet will probably debut his weapons comedy “Micmacs a tire-larigot.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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