"The Devil's Knot"
Director: Atom Egoyan
A year after securing financing at Cannes, Atom Egoyan's West Memphis Three project "Devil's Knot," should be primed to premiere at the festival with stars Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in tow. The film, shot last summer in Georgia, is based on Mara Leveritt's 2002 book of the same name and was adapted for the screen by Paul Harris Boardman ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose") and Scott Derrickson ("Sinister"). Although four well known documentaries have already been made about the murder case ("The Paradise Lost" trilogy and last year's "West of Memphis"), this marks the first major narrative feature to tackle the story. Egoyan's summarized the film's approach to the Wall Street Journal as being focused "on the mother of one of the murdered boys, played by Reese Witherspoon, and the private investigator who worked for the teens' defense team, played by Colin Firth." Whatever the case is, this marks an interesting change of pace for Egoyan, who needs a critical hit following his largely panned sexual thriller "Chloe." [Nigel M. Smith]
Directors: Oliver Hirschbiegel ("Diana"), Olivier Dahan ("Grace")
These dueling tales of contemporary, beloved princesses are both in post-production and one or both could pop up in Cannes (though seem more like Toronto fare). Starring bffs Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman as Princess Diana and Princess Grace, respectively, each film takes on a specific moment in the women's lives. For Diana, its the two years leading up to her untimely death in 1997. For Grace, it's a crisis of marriage and identity during a dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle and a looming French military invasion of the principality in the early 1960s. Of the two, "Grace" seems maybe more likely given it's set only a short train ride from Cannes itself. But given that Harvey Weinstein has set a late December Oscar-bait release date for it, maybe they'd rather wait. [Peter Knegt]
"A Field in England"
Director: Ben Wheatley
Ben Wheatley is one of the most talented filmmakers working in the U.K. today, exploring and challenging genre conventions in the sharp-edged, raucous gangster flick "Down Terrace," the dreamy, unsettling horror film "Kill List" and the black comedy "Sightseers." "A Field In England" sounds like another difficult to categorize feature that will fall into that intriguing intersection of arthouse and midnight film -- a black and white period piece that follows soldiers who flee from an ongoing war only to be captured and forced to help look for a treasure, a task complicated by the fact that the group's accidentally partaken in some hallucinogenic mushrooms. Wheatley reunites here with some actors who've appeared in his past work, including Michael Smiley from "Kill List," and has reportedly built custom lens for the film. "Sightseers" premiered in the Director's Fortnight in 2012, so it wouldn't be at all surprising to see "A Field in England" debut somewhere at Cannes this year. [Alison Wilmore]
Director: Bennett Miller
Bennett Miller directed the "Speed" Levitch doc "The Cruise" and went on to make the based-on-true-story films "Capote" and "Moneyball" (both nominated for best picture Oscars). He continues with the streak of fiction films based on true stories with "Foxcatcher," which tells the story of Dave Schultz, an Olympic wrestler that was killed by a member of the duPont family who was also the sponsor of the Foxcatcher private team that Schultz was coaching. If Miller's earlier fiction work is any indication, we should be in for a gripping work. Though both "Capote" and "Moneyball" waited for the fall festival circuit, so its perhaps more than likely we'll have to wait until then to see. [Bryce J. Renninger]