Yesterday Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy mentioned a couple of dozen interesting possibilities for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival (5.13 to 5.24), which is only nine weeks away. McCarthy starts with two locks I’ve heard about myself — Todd Haynes‘ Carol, a period lesbian romance, adapted from Patricia Highsmith‘s “The Price of Salt,” with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and George Miller‘s Mad Max: Fury Road, a likely festival opener as it debuts in France on 5.13 and stateside two days later. McCarthy is also more or less predicting that Brad Bird‘s Tomorrowland, which will open in the U.S. on 5.22, will make the trek.
I’m not saying these are the hottest attractions, but they’re the first three to be more or less vaguely confirmed for Cannes, and I for one am feeling underwhelmed. Mad Max is fierce popcorn, Tomorrowland might very possibly be infected with the meandering mood virus of co-producer and co-writer Damon Lindelof, and Carol…okay, maybe, but it’s not gobsmacky enough.
I’m just going to offer a suggestion for the hell of it: Thomas McCarthy‘s Spotlight, the drama about the Boston Globe‘s 2001 investigation of sexual molestation by Catholic priests with costars Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schrieber, Johnny Slattery, Jamey Sheridan, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Billy Crudup and Stanley Tucci. Financed by Participant Media and due to be U.S.-distributed by Open Road, Spotlight is just low-profile and modest-sounding enough for Open Road to perhaps seek out an agreeable bump from Cannes that will help it stand up to the competition during award season. Plus McCarthy needs to remind the industry that he’s not the guy who directed The Cobbler, the Adam Sandler film that wiped out in Toronto, but a guy who’s got his mojo back with a moralistic journalism drama.
It’s conceivable, I suppose, that Angelina Jolie‘s By the Sea, a relationship drama costarring Jolie and Brad Pitt about a couple trying to save their marriage during a vacation in Malta, might be included. Jolie and Pitt filmed between 8.19.14 and 11.10.14. Landing this puppy would obviously be a huge score if Cannes topper Thierry Fremaux can swing it.
I for one would love it if Cannes would present Luca Guadignino‘s A Bigger Splash, some kind of relationship drama starring Dakota Johnson, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts. The problem is that Fox Searchight, the film’s U.S. distributor, is presumed to be Cannes-averse.
McCarthy is suggesting that Gus Van Sant‘s The Sea of Trees, a Japan-set suicide contemplation movie with Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe, might be unveiled in Cannes. HE to Van Sant, McConaughey and Watanabe: All three of you are going to die someday. Maybe sooner, maybe later…who knows? But what’s your hurry? What gives you the idea that anyone wants to sit in a theatre for two hours watching McConaughey decide whether or not he wants to disembowel himself?
Other Cannes possibilities include (a) Scott Cooper‘s Black Mass, a dramatic Whitey Bulger biopic with Johnny Depp, Dakota Johnson and Benedict Cumberbatch, (b) Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario (lousy title) with Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro and Jon Bernthal; (c) Justin Kurzel‘s allegedly reductionist Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, and (d) Joachim Trier‘s Louder Than Bombs featuring Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, David Strathairn and Amy Ryan.
McCarthy is also imagining Sean Penn‘s The Last Face, a drama about humanitarian doctors in a war-torn African nation with Charlize Theron, Javier Barden, Adele Exarchopoulos and Jean Reno.
I suppose we should also keep an eye out for Stephen Frears‘ Icon, a dramatization of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal about surreptitious use of illegal substances (EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids) with Ben Foster, Lee Pace and Dustin Hoffman.
Ditto Ben Wheatley‘s High Rise, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard‘s 1975 novel about class conflicts that develop among the inhabitants of a high-rise apartment building (i.e., Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss).
Cary Fukanaga‘s Beasts of No Nation, about a kid named Agu forced to pick up a machete for a beastly mercenary warlord (Idris Elba), could appear at Cannes. But U.S. exhibs have, I’ve been told, refused to book it because it’s heading straight for Netflix. Focus Features is listed as a distributor.
Looking fairly likely is Paolo Sorrentino‘s The Early Years (a.k.a., Youth or La Giovinezza), which will open in Italy on 5.21. Wiki boilerplate: “A retired orchestra conductor (Michael Caine) is on holiday with his daughter and her friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.” Costarring Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Harvey Keitel.
I don’t know why I’m picking up hazy-fuzzy signals from Jeff Nichols‘ Midnight Special, a “sci-fi chase film” that Nicholas has promised is “more grounded than Mud…I really wanted to make a 1980s John Carpenter film like Starman…I love the way those films look.” Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Joel Edgerton and Michael Shannon costar.
McCarthy has listed many, many more films than the ones I’ve discussed here.