The lineup for the Cannes Film Festival hit Thursday morning (April 19), and we're already probably too excited about it. With some of today's best directors and unexpected stars, this year's festival may prove to be one worth paying very close attention to.
So here is our run-down of the five stories out of Cannes we'll be watching closely.
The Maturation of Rob and Kristen
One story from this year's Cannes lineup that people can't help but comment on is that both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have films in competition. While both have acted in some independent films and more serious drama, Cannes will be their sort of coming-out party as serious actors, with "Cosmopolis" and "On the Road" representing their first baby steps into adult filmmaking post-"Twilight". The buzz around both films is much bigger than the names of the two stars, with two big-name directors, David Cronenberg and Walter Salles, attached as well, so it may be the serious breakout the two are looking for.
Matthew McConaughey, Actor
For a guy who's often seen as more of a "laid-back dude" actor, Matthew McConaughey has lined up an impressive series of films for 2012. He's starring in two in-competition films, "The Paperboy" from director Lee Daniels and "Mud" from Jeff Nichol. Both films will see him take on darker roles than the kind he's known for. In "The Paperboy," McConaughey will play a newspaper reporter who returns to his southern hometown for a story about a death-row convict. For "Mud," he'll team with the director of "Take Shelter" for a story about a man who escapes from prison.
A number of the most anticipated films on the lineup for Cannes this year are follow-ups to breakout movies from critically acclaimed directors. Andrew Dominik made the underappreciated "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" back in 2007 and finally got around to his next movie with "Kill Them Softly," reunited with Brad Pitt. One of last year's biggest indie breakouts was the Michael Shannon drama "Take Shelter," directed by Jeff Nichol, who returns this year with "Mud." Jacques Audiard, director of 2009's grand jury prize winner, "A Prophet," is back with "Rust & Bone" starring Marion Cotillard.
Several of the potential films that were seen as dark horses for the competition did not make the lineup. Many had hoped that Terrence Malick's next untitled romance with Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams would make an appearance, but there's talk that the film isn't finished yet. The same applies to Paul Thomas Anderson's highly anticipated follow-up to "There Will Be Blood," tentatively titled "The Master." Ryan Gosling's next film, "The Place Beyond the Pines," was seen as a likely addition to the lineup, but was left out. It should be noted that the festival roster has not been finalized, but Malick and Anderson films are unlikely nonetheless.
Beside an impressive list of stars and upcoming titles, the roster of directors presenting films this year alone is enough get excited about the line-up. With directors like Cronenberg, Wes Anderson, Salles, Dominik, Matteo Garrone, John Hillcoat, Alain Resnais, Ken Loach and Audiard, the festival will be a hotbed of well-respected directors.
What films on the lineup are you looking most forward to? Leave your comment below!