Cannes Film Festival Predictions Include ‘Lightyear,’ New Films By David Lynch, David Cronenberg (EXCLUSIVE)

Cannes Lightyear David Lynch David Cronenberg
Lightyear: Disney; Lynch & Cronenberg: AP

As the Cannes Film Festival will announce its Official Selection on Thursday, Variety is starting to get a slightly clearer picture of what 75th edition will look like, though fewer titles than usual have leaked. Led by Cannes’ artistic director and general delegate Thierry Fremaux, the selection committee has been flooded with late submissions and is now in the thick of deliberations.

Most surprisingly, according to two well-informed sources, there will even be a David Lynch feature film which has been completely off the radar and stars Laura Dern — either as a cameo or a supporting role — along with some other Lynch regulars.

We already know the sun-dappled celebration will land several high-profile films from U.S. studios, such as Joseph Kosinski’s Paramount movie “Top Gun: Maverick” with a special homage to Tom Cruise, who will be on hand, as well as Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” from Warner Bros.

The other hotly-anticipated North American films rumored to be set for a Croisette unspooling include George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” with Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba; David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future” starring Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen; and Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up,” starring Michelle Williams.

After shining a spotlight on rising Japanese helmer Hamaguchi Ryûsuke with “Drive My Car” (which just won an Oscar) last year, Cannes should have a pair of revered Japanese helmers in the lineup: Fukada Koji with “Love Life” and Palme d’Or winning director Kore-eda Hirokazu with “Broker.” South Korean helmer Park Chan-wook’s “Decision to Leave” (pictured) is also in the starting blocks for the competition.

Along with Reichardt, the other women directors believed to be heading for the competition include Léa Mysius, the up-and-coming French director of “Ava” and co-writer of Jacques Audiard’s “Paris, 13th District,” whose latest film “Les cinq diables” stars Adèle Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color”).

As per tradition, some additional movies will be announced in the days, or even weeks, following the press conference. These late additions could include Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Tchaikovsky Wife.” Serebrennikov recently resettled in Germany following an end to his three-year travel ban in Russia.

Speaking of the jury, surprisingly the president has not yet been announced, but we’re hearing that it could be Asghar Farhadi, the Oscar-winning Iranian director of “A Separation” and “The Salesman.” Farhadi was recently accused of plagiarism for his film “A Hero” which won Cannes’ Grand Prize in 2021. He’s denied the charges and an investigation is underway. Due to this evolving situation, Cannes may decide to hold off on announcing for now. In theory, Farhadi sounds like a solid candidate to preside over the jury with his vast film culture and pedigree.

Fremaux was previously looking to land Penelope Cruz as jury president for this milestone edition, but will instead welcome the Spanish performer in competition with Emanuele Crialese’s “L’immensità.” Marion Cotillard, who was also believed to be considered for this role, stars in Arnaud Desplechin’s “Brother and Sister” which should also turn up in competition.

Some movies previously mentioned as Cannes possibilities, such as James Gray’s “Armageddon Time,” Florian Zeller’s “The Son,” Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Bardo” and Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” are now expected to bow in the fall.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17 to May 28. A special 75th anniversary celebration will take place on May 24 with, among other things, a symposium gathering filmmakers from around the world who will debate the future of cinema and what it means to be a director in 2022.

Here are selected films expected to world premiere in this year’s Official Selection:

“Crimes of the Future”
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen
The science-fiction thriller would mark Cronenberg’s comeback to the Croisette eight years after “Maps to the Stars.” The film, which reunites Cronenberg and Mortensen, who last worked together on “A Dangerous Method,” is set in a not-so-distant future where humans have evolved beyond their natural state. According to some insiders who have seen the film, it’s Cronenberg’s most divisive and sultry film. Sources say to expect walk-outs in the last quarter of the film.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Natasha Bassett
Cannes has confirmed that the film will world premiere at the festival. Luhrmann opened Cannes with a bang with “Moulin Rouge!” in 2001 and “The Great Gatsby” in 2013, but this anticipated drama headlined by Austin Butler as The King can’t open the festival because of its June 24 release date. The festival has had a new rule in recent years which requires the opening night movie to premiere in French theaters on the same day.

“Top Gun: Maverick”
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly
This is the “planetary blockbuster” Thierry Fremaux has been dreaming of since 2020. The movie is now slotted for a May 18 world premiere at Cannes. Tom Cruise will be on the ground for the gala screening and will be celebrated with a special event and a masterclass. “Top Gun: Maverick” was previously in the pipeline to open at the festival in 2020 before the festival’s physical edition was scrapped due to the pandemic. After several delays, Paramount has now dated the film for May 27.

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”
Director: George Miller
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba
This film, which has been under the radar, is an epic fantasy romance. It’s a smaller yet ambitious movie by Miller, a Cannes regular. He even served as jury president in 2016 and his latest film “Mad Max: Fury Road” played at the fest in 2015.

“Showing Up”
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Stars: Michelle Williams, John Magaro, James Le Gros
The A24 film portrays Williams as an artist on the verge of a career-changing exhibition. Reichardt, who was last in competition with another Williams-fronted film, “Wendy and Lucy,” could be one of the several women directors to be featured in the lineup.

Mystery David Lynch movie
The feature could either be a standalone movie that the “Mulholland Drive” helmer shot under the radar or an extended pilot of his upcoming series “Wisteria” which is rumored to star Lynch regulars including Laura Dern and Naomi Watts.

Director: Angus MacLane
Voice cast: Taika Waititi, Chris Evans, Keke Palmer
“Lightyear,” Pixar’s upcoming origin story of “Toy Story” favorite character, is expected to world premiere out of competition at the festival, continuing the long tradition of Disney/Pixar family-friendly movies which have opened at Cannes. Although the festival is a primary showcase for auteur movies worldwide, it’s also proven to be a glossy launchpad for animated blockbusters, notably “Up,” which even opened the fest in 2009, and “Inside Out” in 2015.

Director: Emanuele Crialese
Stars: Penelope Cruz
Cruz, who’s just earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in Pedro Almodovar’s Cannes-premiering “Parallel Mothers,” stars in this 1970s-set Italian movie directed by Crialese, the critically acclaimed helmer of “Respiro.” The Pathé movie, which has been submitted to Cannes, delivers an intimate portrait of a family in the 1970s, depicting Italian society at a turning point.

Director: Pietro Marcello
Stars: Louis Garrel, Noémie Lvovsky
Along with Emanuele Crialese, Pietro Marcello is another Italian filmmaker expected in the main lineup, possibly in competition. A French-language drama weaving musical and fantasy elements, “Scarlet” is a period movie set between the two world wars, in Normandy, and follows the journey of a young woman who was raised by her father and strives to find her own path in life.

Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu
Stars: Song Kang-ho (“Parasite”), Bae Doona (“Cloud Atlas,” “The Host”), Gang Dong-won (“Peninsula,” “The Priests”).
Kore-eda, who was last at Cannes in 2018 with his Palme d’Or-winning “Shoplifters,” is expected to return with his Korean-language debut, “Broker.” The film follows a group of individuals who cross paths in a world where boxes are left out for people to anonymously drop off their unwanted babies.

“Love Life”
Director: Fukada Koji
Stars: Kimura Fumino
Set in contemporary Japan, “Love Life” follows a happily married woman who decides to care for her son’s long-lost father when he reappears, deaf, ill and homeless. Fukada previously won the jury prize at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard with his 2016 movie “Harmonium,” and his latest film “The Real Thing” was part of Cannes 2020’s Official Selection.

“Decision to Leave”
Director: Park Chan-wook
Stars: Tang Wei (“Lust, Caution,” “Black Hat”), Korean actor Park Hye-il (“The Host”)
The celebrated Korean director of “Oldboy” and “The Handmaiden” is expected at Cannes with this new film which turns on a diligent detective who is investigating a possible murder case in the mountainous countryside.

“Holy Spider”
Director: Ali Abbasi
The film is inspired by the true story of a family man who embarked on his own religious quest, to “cleanse” the holy Iranian city of Mashhad of immoral and corrupt street prostitutes.

“Boy From Heaven”
Director: Tarik Saleh
Stars: Tawfeek Barhom, Fares Fares
The Swedish-Egyptian helmer, who won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize with his 2017 film “The Nile Hilton Incident,” could turn up in competition with “Boy From Heaven,” a religious and thriller thriller. Set in Cairo, the film takes place at a Koranic school following the collapse of a grand imam which marks the start of a ruthless battle for influence.

Hanging Gardens
Director: Ahmed Al-Daradji
The film follows a young rubbish picker who rescues an American sex doll from the Baghdad dumps and crosses into a perilous red zone where neighbors become enemies. “Hanging Gardens” marks the feature debut of Al-Daradji, an Iraqi filmmaker who previously directed a couple shorts, including “Atfal Allah.”

“Les Cinq Diables”
Director: Lea Mysius
Stars: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Daphne Patakia, Noée Abita
The movie follows a young woman, Vicky, who lives with her parents and welcomes back her aunt after her release from prison. Her presence brings back the past in a violent, magical way.

“Brother and Sister”
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Stars: Marion Cotillard, Melvil Poupaud
Cotillard and Poupaud star as Alice and Louis, a pair of estranged siblings who haven’t seen each other for 20 years and come face to face after the death of their parents. A Cannes regular, Desplechin was at the festival last year with “Deception” which played in the Cannes premiere.

“Tori et Lokita”
Director: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
The two-time Palme d’Or-winning brothers are expected to return to the Croisette with their latest politically-minded film which follows the friendship between two young refugees from Africa who become exiled in Belgium. The Dardennes brothers were last in Cannes with their 2019 film “Ahmed” which revolved around a young man getting radicalized.

“Tchaikovsky’s Wife”
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
Set in 19th century Russia, the movie might prove controversial as it sheds light on the tumultuous relationship between Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the most famous Russian composer of all time, and his wife Antonina Miliukova. The iconoclastic Russian helmer had his last two films, “Leto” and “Petrov’s Flu,” play in competition at Cannes but wasn’t able to leave Russia and attend the premieres due to a travel ban.

“Triangle of Sadness”
Director: Ruben Ostlund
Stars: Woody Harrelson
Ostlund, who won Cannes’ Palme d’Or with his last film “The Square” in 2017, wrapped shooting his ambitious satire “Triangle of Sadness” a year and a half ago and is currently working on trimming his three-hour cut. Starring Harrelson as a rabid Marxist who is the captain of a cruise for the super-rich, the movie was shot on a deserted island in Greece and on board the Christina O, a prestigious yacht whose passengers have included Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.