Long Shot

“Knight of Cups”/”Untitled Film Formerly Known As Lawless” (dir. Terrence Malick)
Cast: Everyone in Hollywood
This could just as easily slide under our Possibilities category, because you just never know. Terrence Malick has been working at a helluva clip of late, and seems to be more productive than ever. But with these two movies – one set against the backdrop of the movie biz, the other in the music scene – shooting last year back-to-back, we can only imagine the unbelievable stack of footage Malick’s teams of editors are sorting through, as they cut half the cast out and help him find the movie and tone he wants. But hey, Malick could be a multitasker and have one of them done for all we know. If it happens, we’ll be pleasantly surprised, but if it isn’t in the lineup, it won’t be a giant shock either.

"The Assassin" (dir. Hou Hsiao-Hien)
Cast: Shu Qi, Chang Chen, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Jack Kao, Nikki Hsieh
Now that Wong Kar-Wai's "The Grandmasters" has been unveiled, we need a new martial arts epic from an acclaimed director to look forward to, and "The Assassin," a wuxia tale from Hou Hsiao-Hien, is undoubtedly the one to fill that slot. Few directors are more beloved of the Cannes Film Festival than Hou, a six-time Palme d'Or contender (though he's never taken the prize), and ordinarily we'd consider him a lock for a slot. But the film finally started shooting (after a delay of at least two years) in October, and isn't scheduled to wrap until April, making a Cannes bow this year virtually impossible. One to keep an eye on for the festival in 2014, though. 

Serena Jennifer Lawrence Bradley Cooper
"Serena" (dir. Susanne Bier)
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Toby Jones, Rhys Ifans, Sam Reid
After "Silver Linings Playbook," a lot of eyes are going to be on this reteaming of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. And with a Great American Novel-sized scope and setting, it has all the trappings of an epic. But beyond small-time jury duty a few years back, director Susanne Bier has never really cropped up at Cannes, with Venice and TIFF being her more regular haunts, and we suspect that "Serena" will turn up at one of those rather than at Cannes. But with the star-wattage present, it could be a dark horse for the Croisette.

"The Zero Theorem" (dir. Terry Gilliam)
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw, David Thewlis, Matt Damon
In the latter stages of his career at least, Terry Gilliam has been a familiar presence at the festival without ever quite becoming part of the wallpaper – "Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus" screened there, and twenty minutes of "The Brothers Grimm," but "Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas" remains his only film to compete for the Palme d'Or. As such, it's hard to tell how viable his latest movie, "The Zero Theorem," is as a possibility for Cannes. The film didn't start shooting until October, putting it right on the knife-edge in terms of whether it can be turned around in time, and knowing Gilliam's luck, someone may have accidentally deleted most of the footage or something by now. That said, taking place in mostly a contained location, we'd reckon the post-production might not be on a sprawling schedule. If the film does feature (and our money would be on TIFF), it's more likely to be out of competition, but you never know.

"The Counselor" (dir. Ridley Scott)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt
While he's appeared at the festival here and there over the years ("Robin Hood" was the opener in 2010), Ridley Scott hasn't competed for the Palme d'Or since his debut "The Duellists" in 1977. In some ways, "The Counselor" sounds like it could be his best bet. He's got an all-star cast, including festival favorite Brad Pitt, and tough, grown-up source material from Cormac McCarthy ("No Country For Old Men"). But the film's been produced by 20th Century Fox, who aren't due to release the film until November, and we're sure a big studio would rather not have the glitzy premiere of one of their big fall offerings six months before people can actually buy tickets for it. It's not impossible (the film shot last summer, so it's probably getting close to being ready), but we suspect Venice, Telluride or TIFF make more sense. And let's not forget, the studio's "Life of Pi" skipped all of those to premiere at the New York Film Festival last year. 

"The Young & Prodigious Spivet" (dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
Cast: Kyle Catlett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Callum Keith Rennie, Judy Davis, Kathy Bates
While he's one of France's best-known filmmakers, Jean-Pierre Jeunet is much less of a Cannes mainstay than you'd imagine. Of his films, only "The City Of Lost Children" was a Cannes premiere. So, while his new film, his first English-language film since "Alien: Resurrection," and his first 3D picture, would be a big get, it's probably not in the cards, especially as the film isn't expected to be delivered until the end of the summer, making TIFF or NYFF more likely possibilities.