As the Cannes Film Festival begins its 11-day run, the Cannes Market is busily bombarding foreign buyers with a host of films -- some completed, some only exist as footage, some don't exist at all and may never come to fruition. First up, films boasting big names like Anne Hathaway, Justin Timberlake and Kate Winslet. Meanwhile, "Jane Got a Gun" struggles to convince buyers. Plus, a Bollywood remake of "Rambo"!
-Cate Blanchett has joined the cast of David Mamet’s Hitchcockian thriller “Blackbird,” which offers a new scenario for the 1963 assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy. Conjuring up "Argo," Blanchett plays a woman whose grandfather was a Hollywood visual effects artist who moonlighted for U.S. special ops agencies. “Blackbird” is produced by Said Ben Said’s Paris-based SBS Prods, which is handling worldwide sales. It will shoot in Sydney. SBS is also selling its production of the only competition title directed by a woman, “A Castle in Italy," actress-director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's semi-autobiographical portrait of a rich family who have to unload their ancestral manse.
-Kate Winslet is attached to star in Jocelyn Moorhouse's ("Proof") period piece "The Dressmaker" as Tilly, a woman who returns to her hometown after having been accused of murder there many years earlier. On the cutting edge of haute-couture 1940s fashion, Tilly continues to be shunned by many in the small town community, while also liberating a number of the town's women with her uncompromising opinions and bold sartorial designs. Moorhouse is directing her own script, adapted from the novel by Rosalie Ham. Pre-production is set to begin in the fall. Embankment Films will be handling international sales at Cannes.
-Worldview Entertainment has signed on to produce drama "Song One," starring recent Oscar winner Anne Hathaway as a woman who begins a friendship with her ailing brother's favorite musician. First-time feature filmmaker Kate Barker-Froyland is set to direct the film from her own script. Hathaway will also be in a producing role, along with Jonathan Demme.
-Sony Pictures Worldwide and Foresight Unlimited ("2 Guns") have finalized a multi-territory deal for biopic "Spinning Gold," starring Justin Timberlake as Neil Bogart, a legendary music entrepreneur. Timberlake will be promoting the film at Cannes to international buyers.
-Troubled production "Jane Got a Gun" is being shopped to foreign buyers, but faces an uphill climb as its cast and crew have dramatically altered since it was introduced at last year's market. For the moment, the film stars Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton and Ewan McGregor, and is being directed by Gavin O'Connor. Lynne Ramsay notoriously dropped out from the helming seat, and Michael Fassbender, Jude Law and Bradley Cooper have all come and gone from the cast.
-Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, has acquired all North American rights to Israeli thriller "Big Bad Wolves" (selected as one of TOH's films to watch at the Tribeca Film Festival). The film is written and directed by Aharon Keshales, and centers on a "series of murders that puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder."
-Original Entertainment has closed a five-picture, $50 million deal with Millenium Films for Bollywood remakes of "Rambo," "The Expendables," "16 Blocks," "88 Minutes" and "Brooklyn's Finest." The first two titles are expected to be in production by the end of the year.