Leave it to Jim Jarmusch to breathe a little life into both the zombie movie and the Cannes Film Festival with his latest feature: the starry festival’s official opening night film, “The Dead Don’t Die.” The latest from the indie filmmaker takes him back to the kind of genre roots he previously toyed with in his vampire film “Only Lovers Left Alive” (what’s next? a werewolf movie?), with the “Paterson” and “Broken Flowers” director next exploring the vibrant after-life of zombies. At least he’ll be armed with some of his favorite collaborators, including Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray.
“The Dead Don’t Die” stars Driver and Murray as local cops who must spring into action when a zombie outbreak begins affecting the town’s citizens. Jarmusch shot the movie in upstate New York, and Murray has gone on record saying the director has “written a zombie script that’s so hilarious.”
While further plot specifics are remaining under wraps (at least until Cannes reviews drop later today…), one thing is for sure: the filmmaker has assembled his most star-studded ensemble cast to date with Driver, Swinton, and Murray joining co-stars Selena Gomez, Rosie Perez, Chloë Sevigny, Danny Glover, Austin Butler, Caleb Landry Jones, Tom Waits, RZA, Iggy Pop, and Carol Kane in the star-studded feature.
Jarmusch has been a Cannes regular for decades, but “The Dead Don’t Die” marks his first opening night slot. The director was last at Cannes in 2016 with two movies: “Paterson,” an intimate character drama starring Driver that premiered in competition, and “Gimme Danger,” a documentary about the rock band The Stooges that debuted out of competition. Jarmusch has also taken films like “Only Lovers Left Alive,” “Broken Flowers” (winner of the Grand Jury Prize), “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai,” “Dead Man,” “Mystery Train,” “Down by Law,” and “Stranger Than Paradise” (winner of the Golden Camera prize) to the festival.
Opening Cannes with such a seemingly fun title doesn’t just speak to the festival’s love for Jarmusch, but the possibility that this year’s festival is going to be a touch more light-hearted than in years past. At least there will be more undead roaming the red carpet than normal. And yes, non-Cannes attendees will get the chance to see the film soon enough, when Focus Features releases it in theaters on June 14.
Watch the newest official trailer for the film below.