Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom will open the 65th Cannes Film Festival on May 16 -- the second consecutive year an American film has kicked off the prestigious French festival.
Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux made the announcement on Friday.
Wes Anderson is one of the rising powers of American cinema, to which he brings a highly personal touch, particularly in Moonrise Kingdom which once again is a testimony to the creative freedom in which he continues to evolve, Fremaux said in a statement. Sensitive and independent, this admirer of Fellini and Renoir is also in his own right a brilliant and inventive filmmaker.
Moonrise Kingdom is a 1960s period piece set in New England (and filmed primarily in Newport, R.I.). The cast includes Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman along with some welcome surprises like Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Francis McDormand.
Production details have been kept tightly under wraps, but here's what we were able to dig up:
- Both lead actors are newcomers making their film debuts in Moonrise Kingdom: Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward play (very) young lovers Suzy and Sam who turn their New England town upside down when they run away together. Neither actor has any kind of online footprint, suggesting Anderson may have plucked them both out of obscurity for the film.
- Anderson wrote the screenplay with Roman Coppola, who also co-wrote and produced Anderson's 2007 film, The Darjeeling Limited. Roman is Francis Ford Coppola's son and Jason Schwartman's cousin. Coppola will direct Charlie Sheen in A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charlie Sheen III, set for release later in 2012.
- Multiple scenes for Moonrise Kingdom were filmed at Trinity Church in Newport, R.I., an Episcopal church established in 1698. According to Newport Patch, one of the scenes is titled The storm has passed. The steeple didn't make it.
The same Patch story includes a heated comment thread devoted to the subject of Bill Murray's disposition. One reader claimed that Murray was rude to a fan who had waited outside the church to catch a glimpse of the actor. Bill Murray was leaving the Church at about 7:30 Wednesday night, when a fan called out to him 'We Love You Bill,' the local resident wrote. In a not very nice way he actually responded by saying 'You Don't Know What Love Is'. The poor lady was devastated.
Another Patch reader insisted Murray was a perfect gentleman to his children, who were working as extra scouts: They said that he was really nice (and funny) and made it a point to talk to the kids and shake all their hands.
- Moonrise Kingdom is the first Wes Anderson film to screen at Cannes, a year after Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris opened the festival. Moonrise Kingdom, distributed by Focus Features, has a U.S. theatrical release date on May 25 -- mirroring the premiere rollout for Midnight in Paris. Indiewire blogger Kevin Jagernauth predicted that Moonrise Kindgom would appear at Cannes after the theatrical release date was announced in December.
Watch the Moonrise Kingdom trailer here: