By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 17, 2013 at 8:29AM
One of the reasons we've been so excited for Cannes this year is that the festival sees the unveiling of not one, but two new films featuring the involvement of one of our favorite directors, James Gray. The "We Own The Night" helmer is back with his first directorial effort since 2008's "Two Lovers," in the shape of period piece "The Immigrant," staring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, and he also helped Guillaume Canet pen the script to crime tale "Blood Ties," with Clive Owen and Billy Crudup.
But once the films screen in the next week, Gray's schedule is clear (beyond the usual promotional commitments). The director's been attached in recent years to two big-budget studio pictures, "The Lost City Of Z" and thriller "The Grey Man," and said not long ago that he thought that the latter might be next, but Brad Pitt dropped out of the lead role recently (having long since bailed on 'Z'), which makes it less likely. Thankfully, news has come in this morning of a new project for Gray, one that could see him moving into new genre territory.
Variety report that Brazilian financiers RT Features, who backed Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" and Kelly Reichardt's upcoming "Night Moves," have come on to finance an untitled sci-fi thriller that Gray will write and direct. There's no other details at present, but we're sure that the filmmaker might spill some beans while at the festival in the next week. Given the renaissance of original sci-fi in the last few years, it's exciting to see people like Gray and Jeff Nichols turn to the genre, and time will tell if this turns out to be his next project. We'll have reviews of both "Blood Ties" and "The Immigrant" in the next week from Cannes.