Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman And More: In The Cut For Cannes

There’s nothing like making it official.As unequivocal as previous statements by some (including me) have been, today’s Paris press conference announcing the line-up of the 65th Cannes Film Festival is the equivalent of somebody putting a ring on it.News of Cosmopolis’s in competition selection came via a surprise trailer early this morning. But the rest came hours later as the world’s press, movie buffs and fans of certain actors waited for the final cut. So, here goes.

A stronger-than-ever U.S or “Hollywood”presence in this year’s clutch of films at Cannes will see Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart ascend the 24 steps of the Palais des Festivals.Translation: Pap heaven. Of course, Pattinson and Stewart aren’t the only big names heading to the Cote d’Azur. But as two of Hollywood’s freshest, young bloods, their zeitgeist wattage will ensure a whole new generation of moviegoers will be watching the movers and shakers on the Croisette this year.

Director David Cronenberg, last seen in Cannes in 2005 with A History of Violence, comes bearing his big screen adaptation of Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis. Trailing a hot wave of anticipation, the story of the disilluisioned, impulsive billionaire Eric Packer and his descent into Manhattan’s underbelly is undoubtedly a perfect fit for the moneyed French Riviera.

Though Pattinson was intially seen as a controversial casting choice by many, that view changed dramatically when a shocking teaser debuted on March 21 (22 if in Europe). To put it bluntly, critics and film sites went nuts. Today’s timely release of not one, but two, Cosmopolis trailers is already seeing that reaction repeat itself. With a cast that includes Juliet Binoche, Paul Giamatti, Mathieu Almaric, Samantha Morton and Kevin Durand, and of course, Cronenberg at the helm – this film is uber hot.

Likewise, Brazilian director, Walter Salles’s, adaptation of Jack Kerouc’s beat generation masterpiece, On the Road, had been flagged as a festival shoe-in. With its impressive cast: Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen et al and a script by the Oscar nominated Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries – 2004) – the resulting bump from Cannes should see this film pick up further distributors. Somewhat neatly, when the news of OTR’s Cannes cut was announced, Salles was speaking at a roundtable event at the historically radical Paris 8 university. Somewhere, Kerouac is smiling.

Taking plot synopses, cast and directors on face value alone, for me the standout – in competition – inclusions are: Andrew Dominik’s mob thriller Killing Them Softly, starring Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini; John Hillcoat’s Lawless with Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce (always great), Gary Oldman and Shia LeBeouf; Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love; Wes Andersons’s Moonrise Kingdom starring Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton; Jacques Audiard’s hardcore Rust and Bone, with Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts; Lee Daniel’s The Paperboy with John Cusack, Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey; Matteo Garrone’s Reality; Jeff Nichols’s Mud headlining Matthew McConaughey (again) and Reece Witherspoon; and of course Cosmopolis and On The Road.

Kristen Stewart as Marylou in On The Road

Similarly, in the Un Certain Regard list, for me, notables films are Xavier Dolan’s gender switcher Laurence Anyways; possibly Antiviral directed by Brando Cronenberg (yes, related); and Sylvie Verheyde’s Confession Of A Child Of The Century – this last one, I must admit, only to satisfy a slightly shameful curiosity about the current state of Pete Doherty. Bookending the festival are Moonrise Kingdom and the late Claude Miller’s Therese D, which stars Audrey Tatou and will undoubtedly add poignancy to the festival’s close.

The full list of films (there may be later add-ons, out of competition naturally) can be seen here. With Tim Roth heading up the Un Certain Regard jury and Berenice Bejo (coming off her turn in The Artist) stepping up as mistress of ceremonies – it looks like Cannes president Gilles Jacob and delegate general Thierry Fremaux intend to make Cannes 2012 a year to remember.

Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16-27