Cannes 2012: Will ‘The Master,’ Terrence Malick’s New Film, James Gray’s Latest & More Actually Premiere?

Cannes 2012: Will 'The Master,' Terrence Malick's New Film, James Gray's Latest & More Actually Premiere?
Cannes 2012: Will 'The Master,' Terrence Malick's New Film, James Gray's Latest & More Actually Premiere?

By this time last year, we already knew that Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” would be opening the Cannes Film Festival, but as March looms closer, there still has been no word yet from organizers which film will kick off the festivities. Yet, that hasn’t stopped conjecture and suppostion as Cineuropa recently penned a speculatory long list of films they they guessing could be heading to Cannes (which includes iffy bets like Terrence Malick‘s next movie, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “The Master” and more). These lists are fun and all, they get the cinephiles’ anticipation juices going (see one example here), but the reality of the matter is there is a element of wish fulfillment to all of them and less than half the films generally posted in these pieces actually end up appearing at the Croisette. Still, using that piece as a jumping off point, we decided to dig a bit deeper to sort out which movies are near certain locks, which are possibilities and those that aren’t going to make it all.

Cannes is still a couple of months away so anything can happen, and much can change so this is our more level-headed, buyer-beware cautious entry into the world of speculation that tends to become engulfed in a lot of wishful thinking. All signs point to another strong festival, with a top tier list of filmmakers likely to make the journey. A quick note: we kept this list to films that will be making their premieres, and not included works making European debuts like the Sundance hit “Room 237” (already tipped by Deadline for Cannes) or buzzworthy sensation “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” which we expect to play there as well.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16-27. Here’s who you might be seeing:

Strong Contenders

Beyond The Hills” (dir. Cristian Mungiu)
Cast: Unknown
While there was word that the helmer behind the Palme d’Or-winning “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” was working on the something new, it came as somewhat of a surprise last week when Sundance Selects announced they had snatched up the U.S. rights to the film. Moreover, Deadline revealed that the film is expected to turn up as part of the official selection at Cannes in May. “Beyond The Hills” should be slightly less harrowing than his abortion drama with the Romanian set story, following a young woman who returns to her home country after living in Germany and reunites with a friend she has known for years since their childhood in the same orphanage. She has found a family in the nuns and priests of a rural convent, and refuses to return with her to Germany. After he took home a total of three prizes on the Croisette with his last film, Mungiu will be a force to be reckoned with.

Love” (dir. Michael Haneke)
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Rive
With production on this film starting a year ago, and considering every single of one Michael Haneke‘s films in the past fifteen years has premiered at Cannes (the sole exception being his American remake of “Funny Games”) this is as close to a lock as it gets. You can practically mark this one down for an In Competition slot.

On The Road” (dir. Walter Salles)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Tom Sturridge, Sam Riley, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Terrence Howard
With production on the film beginning way back in August 2010, and additional photography happening last spring, it has been a slow but steady path for this highly anticipated, years in development adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel. The director gave fans good news in January when he revealed that editing and mixing on the film was finally finished. And with a May 23rd release already set for France, the film’s appearance at Cannes feels like a fait accompli from our vantage point.

Moonrise Kingdom” (dir. Wes Anderson)
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel
Festivals in Toronto, London, Venice, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles and Telluride have already hosted Wes Anderson’s films and this year it looks like the director will finally walk the red carpet on the Croisette. With the film expected to open in the U.S. on May 25th — but more importantly — hitting theaters in France on May 16th, the same day as the kickoff of Cannes, the stars are aligned. Some folks have been suggesting it will grab the non-competition opening slot, and that’s a pretty good guess we think.

Cosmopolis” (dir. David Cronenberg)
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti, Jay Baruchel, Sarah Gadon
Before the end of the year, David Cronenberg told us that he was finishing the sound mix for the film, which means it’s nearing the finish line. Meanwhile, producer Gregoire Melin recently told Cineuropa he is “counting on” the film showing up on the Croisette. Additionally, “Cosmopolis” is a co-production between French and Canadian backers, so we presume we’re looking at Cannes premiere, followed by a TIFF bow before rolling into theaters this fall. Cronenberg is a regular at the festival but hasn’t been there since “A History of Violence,” so we’re sure they’re going to want him back.

Laurence Anyways” (dir. Xavier Dolan)
Cast: Melvil Poupad, Nathalie Baye, Suzanne Clement, Monia Chokri
Simply put, Xavier Dolan is the new, young darling of Cannes. He emerged as a wunderkind when his debut feature “J’ai Tue Ma Mere” became a sensation of the Director’s Fortnight, and made his official entry in the festival with “Les amours imaginaires” (“Heartbeats”) playing Un Certain Regard in 2010. Production geared up on his latest effort last year and has long been expected to find him once again returning to the festival that made his name, and with Variety reporting over the weekend that “Laurence Anyways” is “set to be delivered this spring,” you can pretty much count on it being there.

Something In The Air” (dir. Olivier Assayas)
Cast: Lola Creton, India Menuez, Clement Matayer, Carole Combes, Felix Armand, Mathias Renoux
This film started moving pretty much as soon as Olivier Assayas was finished with his jury duties at Cannes last year. IFC Films picked up the North American right and filming started in June on the multi-lingual pic (French, English and Italian). We think it’s a pretty sure a bet that the helmer is wrapping this up soon, and a return to the Croisette where is a regular and celebrated fixture, seems to be a sure thing.

All You Need Is Love” (dir. Susanne Bier)
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sebastian Jessen, Molly Egelind, Paprika Steen, Kim Bodnia, Line Kruse, Trine Dyrholm
With the film slated for release in France and Europe this summer, it seems all signs are pointing to Susanne Bier making a premiere at Cannes for the first time in her career. Oddly enough, it will be a film that is outside her usual wheelhouse of tough drama, with Brosnan describing it last year as a “delightful love story….which has punch and deals with loss and a great love.” Adding to the mystery, even though the film is set in Italy, Bier told us it’s both in Danish and English. Hmm…we’re intrigued and we bet organizers will be too, so we expect this one to show up.

Elefante blanco” (dir. Pablo Trapero)
Cast: Ricardo Darin, Jeremie Renier, Martina Gusman
While we haven’t heard much about this film, it’s slated for release in Spain on May 25th, and Pablo Trapero certainly made an impression last time he was at Cannes with “Carancho” (for which an American remake is already in the works with Scott Cooper attached to direct). The story centers on two priests who survive an attack in Central America and team with a woman, Luciana, to fight corruption. This film could see Trapero move up into Official Competition status after “Carancho” screened in the Un Certain regard category.

Big House” (dir. Matteo Garrone)
Cast: Claudia Gerini, Aniello Arena, Loredana Simioli
After taking the Grand Prix for “Gomorrah,” the only question about Matteo Garrone’s return to Cannes was not if, but when. And it looks like 2012 is the year. Production on the film started last May so it’s likely close to complete, and anticipation will be high for the picture given the four year wait. This time the helmer will be turning his incisive eye to reality television, using it as a canvas to explore Italy as he did through organized crime the last time out. Otherwise details have been scarce, but this will certainly be one of the more tantalizing offerings on display.

Rust and Bone” (dir. Jacques Audiard)
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bouli Lanners, Celine Sallette
With Sony Pictures Classics recently snapping up the film for the U.S., it seems the pieces are now in place for an expected Cannes premiere from the helmer who had his breakout smash “A Prophet” premiere on the Croisette in 2009. Filming was still underway as late as November, so it might be a crunch to get it in the can in time, but it’s probably a safe bet that everyone is pushing for the movie to unspool in the south of France, and barring any kind of post-production disaster, the odds are looking very, very good.

The Angels’ Shares” (dir. Ken Loach)
Cast: John Henshaw, William Ruane, Gary Maitland, Roger Allam, Paul Brannigan, Siobhan Reilly, Jasmin Riggins
The director’s fourth Glasgow-set film shot last year, and is already slated for a U.K. release this summer, so this is pretty much a lock. Described as a bittersweet comedy, penned by Loach’s longtime collaborator Paul Laverty, this one centers on a new father who has narrowly escaped a prison sentence and, with the help of fellow community service workers, concocts a plan to carve out a new future that involves a whiskey distillery. Given Loach’s name and reptuation, a competition slot is likely already carved out.

In Another Country” (dir. Hong Sang-soo)
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Yu Jun-Sang, Moon So-ri, Yoon Yeo-jeong, Jeong Yu-mi, Moon Seong-geun
Just like her turn in “Captive,” the latest from Brillante Mendoza which just premiered in Berlin, the presence of Isabelle Huppert will likely give the prolific Hong Sang-soo his most high profile showing yet. Earlier this month it was revealed that the film was in post-production, with early footage screening for buyers in Berlin, with the filmmakers planning to have it completed in time for Cannes. This looks like it will be all systems go, and a return for the helmer to the fest where he has previously unveiled “Woman Is The Future Of Man,” “Tale Of Cinema” and “Hahaha.”

The Possibilities

Untitled Romance (dir. Terrence Malick)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem, Barry Pepper, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Sheen
The suddenly busy Terrence Malick could be making back-to-back appearances at Cannes. Last summer, Malick broke his usual wall of silence and in a letter to FIPRESCI (who had awarded him the Best Film Of 2011 award for “The Tree of Life”) revealed he was “rushing toward a mix on the picture we shot last fall in Oklahoma.” Granted, Malick takes his sweet time to complete his films, so who knows if he’ll be ready to show the movie just yet (and fans so far have had to suffice with a first look revealed a year ago). That said, the film has already presold to numerous foreign territories already (U.K., Canada and more) however, Malick has so far reportedly turned down early offers for U.S. distribution, though some footage has screened for buyers. A positive reception at Cannes could certainly raise the heat and start a battle for the movie (landing a more lucrative deal than selling it beforehand). A few reports are suggesting his documentary “Voyage Of Time” could show up, though we don’t expect to see that one for a while considering that after Cannes last year, word leaked out that he was planning on shooting even more footage for the film. Presumably he’s finishing the untitled romance and in pre-production for the two movies he’ll shoot in 2012, “Lawless” and “Knight Of Cups” with the documentary still further away from completion. But then again, who knows with Terrence Malick.

Stoker” (dir. Park Chan-wook)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Jackie Weaver, Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Dermot Mulroney
This quasi-Hitchock thriller, marking the Hollywood debut of Park Chan-wook started lensing last fall, and could be done a lot sooner than we think. Korean media reports that the film is “likely to appear” going on to suggest that Park has already received an invtiation. And considering both “Oldboy” and “Thirst” made their way there, we believe it, but as always it will depend on how far along post-production he gets before May arrives.

The Place Beyond The Pines” (dir. Derek Cianfrance)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn
Having made his Cannes debut in 2010 with “Blue Valentine” screening in the Un Certain Regard category, Derek Cianfrance’s sophomore film was warmly received, and there’s no doubt organizers want him back. This tale of vengeance across generations shot last summer and presuming that Cianfrance has it wrapped up in time, a premiere on the Croisette seems like a good bet only this time, he might graduate to the Official Competition.

Holly Motors” (dir. Leos Carax)
Cast: Denis Lavant, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue
A prize winner at Cannes before, it all will come down to timing if Carax returns. Filming on the project was underway last fall, and depending on the post-production schedule, completion for May could be very tight. But if he can get it in the can, there is no doubt he would be welcomed back.

Untitled (dir. Ramin Bahrani)
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Heather Graham
This rising auteur made his Cannes debut with “Chop Shop” back in 2007, but hasn’t returned since (“Goodbye Solo” premiered in Venice). However, with filming having been completed last summer, we presume that if Bahrani is keeping his trademark minamalist style, post-production likely hasn’t required a big stretch of time. And with the director working for the first time with a bonafide Hollywood cast, now could be the time he walks the red carpet again.

Looper” (dir. Rian Johnson)
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Bridges
This highly anticipated sci-fi film is already test screening, suggesting it’s far along in the post-production phase and we half-expected “Looper” to show up in the SXSW lineup. But since the lineup for that fest is already locked down, Cannes does present a possibility. Granted, we don’t see it showing up in competition, though a Midnight Movie or out-of-competition bow isn’t out of the question.

The We And The I” (dir. Michel Gondry)
Cast: Michael Brodie, Teresa L. Rivera, Brandon Diaz
Filming on Gondry’s upcoming film wrapped last fall and it was been in post-production since. This is another film we thought might be more attuned to SXSW, but again, organizers in Austin have already solidified their lineup. Footage has already screened in Berlin for buyers and we can only guess the movie is nearing completion (particularly as Gondry starts shooting his next film “Mood Indigo” in June). While we don’t see the film making it to the official competition lineup, its whimsical “Be Kind Rewind” inspired narrative could make it a possibility for Un Certain Regard.

The End”/”Like Someone In Love” (dir. Abbas Kiarostami)
Cast: Ryo Kase, Rin Takanashi, Aoi Miyazaki, Tadashi Okuno
With lensing underway late last year, it’s going to be matter of finishing the movie on time. But reportedly set to be a “continuation” on “Certified Copy” (if not with the characters, then at least thematically), Cannes would welcome the helmer back. And producers MK2 are said to be eyeing a premiere on the Croisette and they will likely be pushing hard to make that happen.

Welcome To The Punch” (dir. Eran Creevy)
Cast: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Peter Mullan, Andrea Riseborough
Last month director Eran Creevy tweeted, “Date to deliver film: 3rd of March. Date girlfriend due to deliver baby: 2nd of March. Oh that’s what that constant feeling of angst is.” We figured this meant the thriller was gearing up for a SXSW bow, but with that festival locking up its schedule, could “Welcome To The Punch” have some larger aspirations? With no other major festival on the calendar, and a firm delivery date for the movie, this could be the case however, given that Creevy is still a rising director and the movie itself doesn’t have arthouse aspirations, our guess is that if it does go to France, it will be slotted in the Director’s Fortnight or Critics’ Week sidebars.

Pieta” (dir. Kim Ki-duk)
Cast: Unknown
Ok, we really don’t know much about this at all. But according to Korean media, this engimatic helmer began shooting his latest feature on Febuary 15th with production slated to wrap at the end of the month. His plan is then to finish it and submit for consideration at Cannes. Considering how fast he works, we wouldn’t be suprised, but he’ll have a lot of convincing to do to anyone who waltzed into “Arirang” last time out, to get them to give him another shot.

Savages” (dir. Oliver Stone)
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Demian Birchir, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch
With Universal recently moving the picture out of the fall, into a prime summer release date (opposite “The Amazing Spider-Man” of all things) it likely means Oliver Stone has got this picture wrapped up faster than usual. If it does make it into the Cannes lineup, we doubt this B-movie thriller will play in any of the competition categories. But the combination of an auteur director with a ridiculously starry cast, makes this easy bait for an Out Of Competition slot.

Cogan’s Trade” (dir. Andrew Dominik)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Bella Heathcote, Sam Shepard, Garret Dillahunt
Considering this shot over a year ago (and early on was thought it might be a 2011 release), we don’t think it’s going to be a question of if this movie can be finished in time. However, considering it’s pure pulp entertainment, leaning more toward comedy than action, we’d be surprised if it’s being considered for anything other an out of competition bow at best. The Weinsteins don’t seem to have anything headed to Cannes this year (where in 2011, they got behind “The Artist” just before the festival started) so they may want to show this off . That said, Harvey might just be in buying mode and may hold this one for a festival premiere closer to its September release date.

Untitled Rock ‘N Roll Film (dir. David Chase)
Cast: Jack Huston, Will Brill, John Magaro, Brad Garrett, Bella Heathcote, Lisa Lampanelli
Last fall, Jack Huston revealed that not only has he and fellow leads John Magaro and Will Brill were continuing to jam as their fictional band Twylight Zones in David Chase‘s film, and that the trio may “play a gig in Cannes.” Shooting got underway last spring, so we don’t think having the movie finished in time will be a factor, however with an October 12th release date slated Huston, Brill and Magaro may have to plan on kicking out the jams in Venice or Toronto instead.

Brave” (dir. Mark Andrews)
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson
Remember, while Cannes is all about the arthouse, their out of competition slate usually skews heavily mainstream. Pixar took advantage of this in 2009 when they premiered “Up,” and we could see the same happening this year with “Brave.” In many ways it’s the most ambitious effort they’ve put forth yet, with a period story led by a female protagonist, and the publicity boost a Cannes bow provides could be exactly what they’re looking for to help get the message out.

Snow White And The Huntsman” (dir. Rupert Sanders)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth
Again, Cannes is no stranger to hosting blockbusters and the last two years have seen summer movies “Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “Robin Hood” unspool in the south of France. Will “Snow White And The Huntsman” fill that slot this year? With the film set to open on June 1st (just a few days after Cannes closes) the timing seems right, and a splashy premiere would be a nice final topping on what is already a steady publicity machine behind the pic.

The Grand Master” (dir. Wong Kar Wai)
Cast: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi
Nobody really knows what the hell is going on with the director’s long-in-production, delayed and otherwise mysterious martial arts flick. A few stills and a teaser trailer have landed, and the movie was even rumored for Cannes last year, but there continues to be dead silence around the movie. If it kicks back to life and makes it into the festival, great, but we’re also not holding our breath either. But hey, legend has it that Wong Kar Wai delivered a dripping wet print of “2046” to Cannes last time out, and if the mercurial director is suddenly ready, the Croisette will find the space for him.

A Longshot

Nero Fiddled” (dir. Woody Allen)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Allen, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Robert Begnini, Alison Pill, Greta Gerwig, Judy Davis
Yes, France loves Woody and Woody loves France. However, with this movie being an Italian set tale featuring the country’s beloved Roberto Benigni, a Venice premiere is far more fitting. If it bowed anywhere else, it would practically be a scandal.

Dans La Maison” (dir. Francois Ozon)
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Emmanuelle Seigner, Kristin Scott-Thomas
Even though he’s a native hero, lensing on this one only began late last year and Ozon was recently sidetracked by jury duty at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Could he knock this out in a record amount of time? Yeah, sure, anything is possible but our guess is that this comedic thriller will instead make a fall festival appearance.

Song For Marion” (dir. Paul Andrew Williams)
Cast: Terrence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arteton
Though The Weinstein Company picked up the Brit film last fall and it has all the trappings of serious Oscar bait (grumpy old man becomes involved with his wife’s choir after she gets stricken with cancer) we’d be surprised if they rolled it out this early. “The Artist” — being a black-and-white silent film with no major stars — needed that early Cannes love and push, but this is a different animal, a film strictly in the crowdpleaser mode that seems far more suited to a Telluride or TIFF premiere where audience reaction and buzz will much more helpful for this film’s inevitable Oscar campaign. This populist pic would be an odd fit for Cannes and we don’t see it being included in the lineup.

The Congress” (dir. Ari Folman)
Cast: Robin Wright, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston
This one has come up in a few conversations, but it’s not going to make it. The ambitious film that is blending live action and animation has been through an intense production that is still on going and the director himself revealed in December that, “The movie should be done by January 2013.” So maybe next year.

Low Life” (dir. James Gray)
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, Marion Cotillard
Bizarrely put forth by Cineuropa as a possibility if Gray manages to edit it quickly, there is no way in hell this is making it Cannes. The film is still shooting, so we’re looking at a fall festival bow at the earliest but we won’t be surprised if we don’t see any sign of the picture until next year. But Cannes 2013? Why not. The French love James Gray and there’s no doubt the festival would welcome him with open arms.

Foxfire” (dir. Laurent Cantet)
Cast: Claire Mazerolle, Kate Coseni, Madeleine Bisson
While we thought that Cantet returning to the place where “The Class” emerged as a sensation was a no brainer, with additional photography still happening, producers said last month that the movie is aiming for a TIFF premiere.

The Master” (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Laura Dern
While Paul Thomas Anderson has been to Cannes before (“Punch Drunk Love”) and with the “The Master” wrapping last fall, we still think it’s fairly unlikely the helmer will be rushing his highly anticipated (and semi-controversial) period picture — his first film in five years — to make it to the Croisette. With a December release date locked down, a fall festival bow is much more likely.

The Wettest County” (dir. John Hillcoat)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Dane DeHaan, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska
While the wait for this film has been agonizing, and not helped by shifting release dates, unfortunately those waiting for the movie will have to continue to be patient. Last month Harvey Weinstein said they’re looking at Venice to premiere the film, which will quickly be followed by an August 31st release date in what he hopes will be box office draw thanks to the expected popularity of Tom Hardy post-”The Dark Knight Rises.”

The Dark Knight Rises” (dir. Christopher Nolan)
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Juno Temple, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard
Sorry nerds, this isn’t gonna happen. Back in 2010, rumors flew around heavily that “Inception” was going to make an appearance Out Of Competition. And while we expect there will similiar talk this year, given Christopher Nolan’s huge desire to save the surprises for the multiplex, pretty much everyone will have to wait until July to see this.

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