Although I do not believe that 2023 will go down as a stellar year for anyone – I asked six friends and they all agreed – there is something I cannot stop thinking about: Cannes 2023. We got The Zone of InterestAnatomy of a FallMay DecemberHow to Have SexPerfect Days. There was Killers of the Flower Moon. There was that gay Western with Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal. And best of all – and yes, I really mean best – we got our first peak at The Idol, The Weeknd’s HBO critical darling (ha, ha) gone too soon. If the Oxford English Dictionary ever need to update their definition of “halcyon” – is that something they do? – they could just use two words: Cannes 2023.

Which leads us to the 2024 festival, its 77th edition, which takes place in a few weeks. This year’s jury is headed up by Greta Gerwig, former indie darling who last year managed to turn a toy franchise into an Oscar-nominated film (though missed actual gold: shame!). It’s probably not going to be quite as starry as last year’s affair – though, as evidenced by my introduction, what chance did it have? – but there are a few promising projects.

You can read the full list of in-competition and out-of-competition films here, but we have picked some highlights.

The Apprentice. TAILORED FILMS

All eyes are on Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis, about an architect who rebuilds New York following a disaster. The film, which Coppola has been working on since the early Eighties, stars Adam Driver, Nathalie Emanuel and Aubrey Plaza.

Barry Keoghan dropped out of Gladiator II (led by Esquire cover star Paul Mescal) to star in Bird, directed by Andrea Arnold (American HoneyFish Tank) alongside the recent star of gay open relationship drama Passages, Franz Rogowski. And his Saltburn co-star and erstwhile Elvis, Jacob Elordi, will star in Paul Schrader’s Oh, Canada, which is based on 2021 novel Foregone. It’s about a an American leftie who heads to Canada to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War.

Yorgos Lanthimos, fresh from a victory run with Poor Things, is back with Kinds of Kindness, an anthology film starring Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, possible tortured poet Joe Alwyn and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it turn from Hunter Schafer. Tortured politician Donald Trump is the subject of The Apprentice, directed by Ali Abbasi, which follows the businessman turned politician’s early years. The dubious honour of playing the former president goes to Sebastian Stan and Succession’s Jeremy Strong co-stars.

Sean Baker, the American director behind the heart-stealing The Florida Project, returns with Anora, a New York rom-com about… well, who knows actually? Details are under wrap apart from the cast which includes Mikey Madison (Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood). Elsewhere Italian director Paolo Sorrentino returns with Parthenope, starring Gary Oldman. We don’t know much about that one either though the film’s title takes its name from a siren in Greek mythology (could be helpful to know for a pub quiz?).

David Cronenberg is premiering The Shrouds, a horror film with Vincent Cassel, Guy Pearce and Diane Kruger. Cassel plays a widower who invents a machine to connect with the dead. If movies have taught us anything, that will surely have zero consequences. Another horror, Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance, sounds interesting thanks to its cast alone: Demi Moore, Dennis Quaid and Margaret Qualley.

The biggie premiering out of competition is George Miller’s Fury Road prequel, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the lead role while Thor’s younger brother, Liam Hemsworth, joins in on the desert fun. Will Kevin Costner’s western, Horizon: An American Saga, be as fun? Who knows but its cast, which includes Costner, Sienna Miller and Luke Wilson, will surely give it a go.

And what will follow up Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex in the Un Certain Regard category? By title alone, I am excited by On Becoming a Guinea Fowl from Zambian-Welsh director Rungano Nyoni. It is a family comedy-drama set in Africa and has already been picked up by A24 for international sales.

Originally published on Esquire UK

Everything about Megalopolis, as the name of Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming movie suggests, is suitably mega. Dubbed “Julius Caesar meets Blade Runner” by Mike Figgis, the director who is filming a behind-the-scenes doc on the project). From the cast (Adam Driver! Dustin Hoffman! Laurence Fishburne! Aubrey Plaza!) to the estimated USD120 million cost (self-funded by Coppola himself), there's a lot riding on the Coppola 23rd feature film.

It's apparently been in development since the ‘80s, but we're nearing showtime. Here’s everything about the production, and what to expect from one of the year’s biggest film releases.

When is Megalopolis out?

Pretty soon, as revealed by the director himself. In an Indie Wire article, Coppola said: “It’s only going to be a few months and it’ll be out.” He adds: “All I can say is I love the actors in it. It’s unusual, and it’s never boring. Other than that, wait and see.” Update: we’re still waiting and seeing.

Who is in Megalopolis?

The film, which finished shooting back in March 2023, has a cast list of stellar A-listers. This includes Adam Driver (playing Caesar), Forest Whitaker (Frank Cicero), Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza and Shia LaBeouf. On top of that, there’s Chloe Fineman, Kathryn Hunter, DB Sweeney, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Bailey Ives, Grace Vanderwaal, James Remar, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Ex-Hollyoaks actor Nathalie Emmanuel, who appeared in in Game Of Thrones and will play Megalopolis's lead, Julia Cicero.

It’s a pretty big deal for Driver, too, who poured praise upon the legendary director in an interview with Collider“It has been one of the best—without hyperbole—best shooting experiences of my life," he said. "Watching him work that crew, that design team, he has such a command over cinematic language and an archive in his mind of shots that are so beautiful. And doing something so ambitious, and on his own terms, that you would think that it would be dictatorial or really controlled, but he is the most warm, open, thoughtful, director who is just…

“He really—and this all sounds like being very general, but he really embodies this thing of like, 'We're making this experiment and we're not interested in how it comes out. We're interested in the process of making it.' And inevitably because of that, the thing that you make, there's no film reference for. I think what he's made is so unique and interesting. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of it.”

What happens in Megalopolis?

As the official synopsis of the sci-fi movie has it: “In New York, a woman, Julia Cicero, is divided between loyalties to her father, Frank, who has a classical view of society, and her architect lover, Caesar, who is more progressive and ready for the future. He wants to rebuild New York City as a utopia following a devastating disaster.”

So, yes, it’s kind of a sci-fi modern retelling of the Caesar story, but Coppola told Deadline that he saw it as more of a love story. “I am grateful to be in the position to be able to make a film that haunts me and that I feel will be wonderful, that will shed light on the subject of what the future might be like and what human beings are really like. I am as happy as I could be.”

Coppola also shrugged off the rumours about unrest on set, following claims by The Hollywood Reporter that there was “chaos” on the production; that it was vastly over-budget and losing key creative talent, including the production designer and supervising art director, in addition to the entire visual effects team departing.

“Well, Apocalypse Now was out there being edited for months and months and months. And because it had been made in the Philippines, it was sort of mysterious. [With Megalopolis] it was much the same thing. A rumour starts out; there was a report about chaos. But the source was no source. From my point of view, I was on schedule, which, on a big, difficult movie, is hard to do,” Coppola said.

“I love my actors, and there is not one of them I would change. The movie has a style that went beyond my expectations. That’s sincerely how I feel. The most important thing is the life the film might have when eventually it cuts together and blossoms.”

Is there a trailer for Megalopolis yet?

Not yet, but keep checking back and we’ll drop it as soon as it happens.

Originally published on Esquire UK