Some leading filmmakers are gearing up for new movies and prominent actors are being drawn to them. The first is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: the Mexican director, whose last movie was 2011's soulful, shattering Biutiful, moves not only from Barcelona to New York, but from existential drama to black comedy, for Birdman. It's the story of an ageing Hollywood star (Michael Keaton, Batman), famous for playing a superhero, who mounts a Broadway comeback but hasn't factored in the enormous ego of his co-star (Edward Norton, Moonrise Kingdom). Keaton's daughter, fresh from rehab, will be played by Emma Stone (Gangster Squad), while making an eclectic cast even more offbeat will be Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) as the doomed play's producer.
Hemsworth Manns up
Michael Mann, a modern American master, hasn't made a feature since he cast Johnny Depp as Depression-era John Dillinger and brought Marion Cotillard to American for 2009's Public Enemies. After returning to television for the cancelled horse racing cable series Luck, the exacting director is preparing a digital thriller set in the age of cyber attacks and remote access hacks. Given Mann's love for in the moment realism, that could entail a lot of computer screens and immaculate shots of servers. To keep audiences involved and to sometimes cut through the detail he'll need a film star, and he's found one in the form of Australian Chris Hemsworth. The star of Thor, The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman looks set to work with the director of Last of the Mohicans, Heat and The Insider.
Tilda's transition vamp
The laconic Jim Jarmusch, the sole distinguished graduate of the late '70s no wave New York underground filmmaking scene, last made an obtuse espionage thriller (it was as much about architecture as covert operations) with 2009's The Limits of Control, and now he's making what is reportedly a vampire story of sorts. Only Lovers Left Alive stars Tom Hiddleston (The Deep Blue Sea) as an alternative musician and depressed vampire who reunited with his ageless lover, to be played by Tilda Swinton (I Am Love), but hasn't counted on her out of control younger sister, to be played by the busy Mia Wasikowska (Lawless). If only Jarmusch had taken on a Twilight movie.
UK has eyes for panda
Finally, the Basque filmmaker Isabel Coixet, who previous features include the finely etched dramas My Life Without Me and Elegy, is making a horror film set in a small English town that is reportedly influenced by the distinctive Japanese cycle of vividly spectral films that began with Hideo Nakata's Ring. Panda Eyes will stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point, Ride with the Devil), Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) and Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man). Coixet, who has been prolific turning out shorts, documentaries and television shows in recent years, remains one of the most intriguing of the many directors Spain has launched upon the world cinema this last decade.