‘The French Dispatch’ to World Premiere at Cannes (EXCLUSIVE)

Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” is finally set to world premiere in competition at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, Variety has learned. The Searchlight title doesn’t have a release date as yet, and Disney is expected to unveil one soon for later this year. The 2021 edition of the Cannes Film Festival will kick off July 6 with Leos Carax’ “Annette” and a competition jury presided over by Spike Lee.

“The French Dispatch” was already part of last year’s Official Selection and was due to open in theaters in the summer but had its theatrical release pushed several times due to the pandemic. It’s possible something will fall apart, but at this point, Anderson’s film is expected to premiere in the South of France more than a year after it was originally slated to have its red carpet bow.

Anderson’s 10th movie, “The French Dispatch” stars Benicio del Toro, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Bill Murray and Timothée Chalamet, among other stars. There’s still some uncertainty about how many members of the cast will be on the ground in Cannes to present the film. Anderson, however, is expected to be there along with several actors, notably Tilda Swinton who stars in another competition title, “Memoria” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

The film shot in Augouleme, France, and is set at an outpost of an American newspaper called The French Dispatch in a fictional 20th-century French city which brings to life a collection of stories.

Anderson isn’t a Cannes regular, but did use the festival to premiere 2012’s “Moonrise Kingdom” which earned a warm welcome before becoming one of his bigger box office successes.

Other U.S. movies in the pipeline for the upcoming edition include Sean Penn’s “Flag Day” in which Penn stars as a conman alongside his daughter Dylan Penn, his son Hopper Penn, Josh Brolin and Miles Teller; and Tom McCarthy’s Marseille-set thriller “Stillwater” with Matt Damon; as well as Todd Haynes’s documentary “The Velvet Underground.”

“We have seen some beautiful American films and the selection will reflect that,” Cannes’ chief Thierry Fremaux told Variety last week. Fremaux also said the summer 2021 edition will look to bring locals into the mix and celebrate moviegoing with more live events and outdoor screenings planned. The full lineup will be unveiled on June 3 in Paris.

A spokesperson for Cannes declined to comment and a spokesperson for Searchlight did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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