The hosts of this year’s Cannes film festival appear to be faced with a major dilemma. Should they turn the red carpet over to the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon? Or should they offer centre-stage to a polar bear, a humpback whale, and an elephant?
The Hollywood Reporter suggests that Cannes is currently torn between two very different titles for its opening night slot. The reputed frontrunners are Ocean’s Thirteen, a star-studded Hollywood blockbuster from Steven Soderbergh, and Earth, a feature-length nature documentary.
Ocean’s Thirteen will inevitably be the more glamorous curtain raiser. But, having faced criticism for opening last year’s event with The Da Vinci Code, festival organizers may be considering taking a different route.
Directed by Alastair Fothergill, Earth is a 90-minute companion piece to the BBC series Planet Earth charting the migrations of a bear, a whale and an elephant. Yesterday the film’s makers were talking up its chances. “We’re already speaking to Cannes about being the opening night film,” said Sophokles Tasioulis of Greenlight Media, which co-produced the film alongside the BBC.
The other film under consideration, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is The Valley of Elah, an Iraq-set drama by Paul Haggis, the writer-director of the Oscar-winning Crash.
Various major films are already being tipped for inclusion in this year’s line-up. They include the Coen brothers’ Cormac McCarthy adaptation No Country For Old Men, Harmony Korine’s Mr Lonely, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild and Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park. Quentin Tarantino is also expected to make his Cannes comeback with Grind House, a double-feature he directed in tandem with Robert Rodriguez.
This year’s festival runs May 16-27.