Just last week, we were noting that if Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die were to premiere in Cannes, the festival could count on a virtual galaxy of stars walking its red carpet. Even if only the three leads—Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Chloë Sevigny, who play police officers battling the undead in their otherwise peaceful town of Centerville—were to show up, it’d be a festive event. But the cast also features Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane, and Tom Waits. Today, Variety’s Elsa Keslassy and Brent Lang report (and the festival confirms) that Cannes has not only invited The Dead Don’t Die to compete for the Palme d’Or, it’s given Jarmusch’s fourteenth feature the coveted opening night slot.
Jarmusch and Cannes go way back. In 1984, Stranger Than Paradise, which we released yesterday along with Night on Earth (1991) in new director-approved special editions, won the Caméra d'Or for best debut feature. Jarmusch has since returned to the competition with Down by Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Dead Man (1995), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Broken Flowers (2005), and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), and in 2016, he brought his two most recent features, Paterson and his documentary on Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Gimme Danger. In 1993, Jarmusch won the Palme d’Or for the best short film with Coffee and Cigarettes III.
Speculation as to the other twenty or so films that might make the Cannes’ competition lineup to be announced on April 18 continues to run rampant, but Keslassy and Lang report that “insiders say only a handful of films have been told officially that they’ve landed a slot.” This year’s edition runs from May 14 through 25.