Green meanie ‘Shrek’ to party hearty on Croissette

Pic to infuse fest with star power

The green machine is in high gear again.

Shrek 2” has been selected for the main competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, unspooling May 12-23.

DreamWorks is planning to screen the pic Saturday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m.

Slotting the pic gives the fest a solid infusion of star power during its opening stretch. Cast members supplying their voices to the toon — Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas and Rupert Everett — will be on hand for the soiree.

Three years ago DreamWorks parlayed a high-profile Cannes competition berth for its animated ogre into a boffo theatrical bow, en route to $477 million in worldwide B.O.

Also expected in a Competition slot is Focus Features’ “The Motorcycle Diaries,” helmed by Walter Salles, which screened to rave receptions at Sundance and will be released by Focus in the fourth quarter.

Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” from Miramax, is hotly tipped to open the fest; it recently changed its release date Stateside to April 16. Another Sundance fave, Kevin Bacon starrer “The Woodsman,” is expected to be somewhere in the official lineup.

Experimental pic “Tarnation,” exec produced by last year’s Palme d’Or winner Gus Van Sant and producer John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”), seems a lock for the Directors Fortnight.

Meanwhile, Warner Independent Pictures’ “A Home at the End of the World” and Sony Pictures Classics “Heights” are likely contenders for one of the main sections of the fest.

The decision to unveil the first “Shrek” in competition at Cannes three years ago was a huge PR triumph for DreamWorks.

The film did not win any prizes, but the rave reviews established it as a must-see for adults as well as kids, providing the perfect start to a global marketing campaign that reaped $477 million at the box office.

That encouraged DreamWorks topper Jeffrey Katzenberg to take “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” to Cannes in 2002, with a less positive outcome.

But with “Shrek” already established as a modern classic, the likelihood is that “Shrek 2” will generate even more hoopla at Cannes.

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