This year is the 70th Cannes Film Festival, and it seems like more than ever, Thierry Frémaux and co. are planning on pulling out the stops to make it a festival to remember. The line-up of movies certainly suggests that, and now the festival has revealed what might be the most high-profile jury line-up in the seven-decade history of movies on the Croisette.
We already knew that the legendary Pedro Almodóvar was going to serve as jury president, and Jessica Chastain joined him in the line-up last week. But now the full team has been assembled, and it’s a pretty amazing, and fascinating, group. You’ve got your Cannes-favorite auteurs, including two from the competition last year, “Toni Erdmann” genius Maren Ade and “The Handmaiden” helmer Park Chan-Wook, plus the great “Young Pope” director Paolo Sorrentino. Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing, composer Gabriel Yared and French star Agnès Jaoui are also lined up.
Oh, and not to bury the lede, but Will Smith is also on the jury. Yes, that Will Smith. Fresh Prince Will Smith. Megastar Will Smith. It’s kind of awesome that he’d take a couple of weeks out to sit through the competition of the world’s most prestigious film festival — maybe Smith is just desperate to see the new Hong Sang-Soo before everyone else? We’d love to be a fly on the wall for these meetings and negotiations — Jaoui deliberately avoiding eye contact with Smith when he asks if anybody saw “Collateral Beauty,” Maren Ade and Smith forming a friendship that results in her directing “Suicide Squad 2” — hopefully we get a “12 Angry Men”-style HBO movie in a few years.
Cannes kicks off on May 17th, and we’ll be there to bring you our verdicts on all the movies before Big Willy and the gang bring you theirs on the closing ceremony on May 28th.