Directors Whose Work We’re Excited to See in 2021!

By Clayton Davis

Movies and art are still the pillars for our survival during the COVID-19 pandemic. As one awards season is currently underway, we look ahead to films that shifted from their original dates, features coming soon to theaters and streaming, and films that don’t have a date but have compelling directors attached.

Variety assembled a robust list of the biggest movies coming in 2021. But which filmmakers are bringing their signature styles or offering new perspectives this year? There’s plenty of material to choose from, whether it be the juicy source material of a beloved composer like Leonard Bernstein, the science fiction story of a futuristic hero or an upcoming superhero film that in a typical year would likely see a woman helm the highest-grossing motion picture of the year for the first time (on top of possibly being in the Oscars race).

The year looks to be very promising for inclusive voices, both on the mainstream and in the independent realm, which always breathes new life and energy into the art of filmmaking.

Other notable filmmakers with anticipated films set for 2021: Hollywood heavyweights Paul Thomas Anderson, George Miller, Steven Soderbergh, Baz Luhrmann, Terrence Malick and David O. Russell, and newcomers Kay Cannon, Rebecca Hall and Nia DeCosta are among the directors also releasing buzzy films this year.

NOTE: There are many projects still in development, others we’re unsure about in terms of timing and, even some that are on this list may not see the light of day this calendar year.

Here are the directors we’re looking forward to hearing from in 2021.

Wes Anderson

Photo : AP Photo/Joel Ryan

“The French Dispatch” (Searchlight Pictures)

The imagination and creative vision of Wes Anderson are undeniable and utterly recognizable. Anderson has racked up seven Oscar nominations, over four separate categories (picture, director, original screenplay and animated feature), beginning with 2001’s “The Royal Tenenbaums” and most recently with 2018’s “Isle of Dogs.” His next venture, which was originally scheduled to play at last year’s Cannes Film Festival before it was canceled due to COVID-19, is shuffling to a still-to-be-determined date this year. With many of his familiar cast members returning, we are sure to be in for another whimsical outing that’s described as a love letter to journalists.

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Léa Seydoux, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Benicio del Toro, Rupert Friend, Liev Schreiber, Anjelica Huston, Fisher Stevens, Jason Schwartzman, Jeffrey Wright, Lois Smith, Jeffrey Wright

Written by: Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness

Synopsis: A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional twentieth-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in The French Dispatch Magazine.

Andrea Arnold

“Cow”

British filmmaker Andrea Arnold has an Oscar in the best live action short category for 2005’s “Wasp.” Since then, her work in features like “Fish Tank” and “American Honey” have garnered respect and acclaim. It’s a rarity to see a documentary make an appearance on lists for anticipated films, and her first doc that looks at two cows’ daily lives. (The internet is sure to dub this one “Second Cow.”) It could be beautifully poignant with a filmmaker of Arnold’s stature.

Written by: Andrea Arnold

Synopsis: A close-up portrait of the daily lives of two cows.

Halle Berry

Photo : Courtesy of TIFF

“Bruised” (Netflix)

The only Black woman to ever win the best actress Oscar has jumped into the driver’s seat and is ready to bring her filmmaking vision to the world. Picked at the Toronto International Film Festival by Netflix, it’s said to show her natural touch behind the camera, even managing some very high acting moments. It’s also lovely to see her tap composer Terence Blanchard, long-time composer of Spike Lee, to score the film, along with a rumored solid turn from Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Fences”).

Starring: Halle Berry, Adan Canto, Stephen McKinley Henderson

Written by: Michelle Rosenfarb

Synopsis: Follows a former MMA fighter struggling to regain custody of her son and restart her athletic career.

Janicza Bravo

Photo : Katie Jones/Variety/Shutterstock

“Zola” (A24)

The Sundance Film Festival may look different in 2021, but there are ripples still felt from 2020 and one of its breakout filmmakers Janicza Bravo and her sophomore directing effort, “Zola.” Based on the 148-tweet sensation that took the internet by storm in 2015, she establishes herself as one of the most exciting up and comers with her blend of dark comedy and statement on self-respect. With the dynamite trio of actors Taylor Paige, Colman Domingo (both from “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Riley Keough (“It Comes At Night”), the early Park City buzz could surely return.

Starring: Taylor Paige, Riley Keough, Colman Domingo, Nicholas Braun

Written by: Janicza Bravo, Jeremy O. Harris (based on the tweets by A’Ziah King and the magazine article by David Kushner)

Synopsis: A stripper named Zola embarks on a wild road trip to Florida.

Jane Campion

“The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)

Any new Jane Campion film is sure to draw excitement. She was just the second woman to be nominated for best director for 1993’s “The Piano,” setting the tone for future nominees Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) and eventual and only female winner to date, Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”). It’s been 12 years since she directed the undervalued “Bright Star.” Still, with an all-star cast, critically revered source material, and “the power of the Netflix” (pun intended), this could be her big screen resurgence.

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Thomasin McKenzie, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy, Kodi-Smit McPhee, Adam Beach

Written by: Jane Campion (based on the novel by Thomas Savage)

Synopsis: A pair of brothers who own a large ranch in Montana are pitted against each other when one of them gets married.

Leos Carax

“Annette” (Amazon Studios)

As an avowed fan of French director Leos Carax’s brilliant “Holy Motors,” this upcoming original musical from Sparks brothers Ron and Russell Mael had its hook in me ever since it was announced. Include my addiction for a once-a-week watch of Adam Driver belting “Being Alive” in “Marriage Story” and Marion Cotillard going for broke with “Take It All” from “Nine,” this could easily take over the Spotify playlists in 2021. Carax doesn’t work very often, only making five films since 1984, so we can only hope American audiences are ready for his English-language debut.

Starring: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg

Written by: Ron Mael, Russell Mael

Synopsis: A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife have a 2-year-old daughter with a surprising gift.

Stephen Chbosky

“Dear Evan Hansen” (Universal Pictures)

In 2012, director Stephen Chbosky made one of the most touching films of the decade, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” — a beautiful ode to cinema and a masterclass in filmmaking. Five years later, he put the tear ducts into overdrive with the emotionally resonate “Wonder.” The Academy ignored both. Taking on the Tony-winning Broadway musical, with themes of social anxiety and teen suicide, something that Chbosky has excelled at capturing, he’s right in his wheelhouse of sensitive storytelling. Hopefully, he’ll be able to elevate the stage material into something truly cinematic.

Starring: Ben Platt, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams, Danny Pino, Colton Ryan

Written by: Steven Levenson (based on the musical “Dear Evan Hansen” by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson)Synopsis: The film adaptation of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical about Evan Hansen, a high school senior with social anxiety disorder, and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a classmate.

Justin Chon

Photo : Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

“Blue Bayou” (Focus Features)

American stories from the Asian perspective continue to represent strongly, and following “The Farewell” and “Minari,” “Twilight” series star Justin Chon writes, directs and stars in “Blue Bayou.” Chon has been quietly directing since 2015 with films like “Man Up” and “Ms Purple.” His latest effort brings the talents of Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) and “Brooklyn” standout star Emory Cohen, helping  solidify the trend of stories from diverse voices.

Starring: Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Mark O’Brien, Emory Cohen,

Written by: Justin Chon

Synopsis: As a Korean-American man raised in the Louisiana bayou, he works hard to make a life for his family. He must confront the ghosts of his past as he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.

Jon M. Chu

Photo : Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection

“In the Heights” (HBO Max/Warner Bros)

The talented Jon M. Chu proved the power of representative cinema when his film “Crazy Rich Asians” grossed $238 million worldwide in 2018, netting nominations from the Golden Globes and SAG awards. Leading the Broadway smash will give him the opportunity to stretch with large set pieces and powerful music. Early word from a March 2019 screening for Latinx journalists before the COVID-19 shutdown was very positive, providing confidence that the soulful message of the story is intact. Adapted by Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book for the stage production, Chu’s vision looks bright based on the first trailer.

Starring: Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco, Jimmy Smits, Marc Anthony, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Written by: Quiara Alegría Hudes (based on the musical “In the Heights” by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Synopsis: A feature version of the Broadway musical. A bodega owner has mixed feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother’s fortune.

Benjamin Cleary

“Swan Song” (Apple TV Plus)

The name of the first-time director Benjamin Cleary may not jump out as instantly recognizable, but he’s already won an Oscar for best live action short film for “Stutterer.” With a hefty budget and the backing of streamer Apple TV Plus, he’s assembling a cast that reunites “Moonlight” cast members Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, along with the talents of Awkawfina, seven-time nominee Glenn Close and the vastly underused Adam Beach.  He’s even managed to snatch up the still yet awards recognized Masanobu Takayanagi, the brilliant cinematographer behind “Hostiles” and the best picture winner “Spotlight.”

Starring: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Awkawfina, Glenn Close, Adam Beach

Written by: Benjamin Cleary

Synopsis: When a loving husband and father is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he’s presented with a controversial alternative solution to replace himself with a carbon copy clone.

Joel Coen

“The Tragedy of Macbeth” (A24)

The cinematic equivalent of The Beatles breaking up, the upcoming “The Tragedy of Macbeth” will be the first film which one Coen helms without the other’s involvement. Joel Coen will be taking on William Shakespeare’s words with the thespian might of Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, both two-time Oscar-winners. With the savvy and eye for interesting projects, he’ll have the producing power of Scott Rudin (winner of “No Country for Old Men”), along with DP Bruno Delbonnel (“Inside Llewyn Davis”) and composer Carter Burwell (“Carol”).

Starring: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling

Written by: Joel Coen (based on the play by William Shakespeare)

Synopsis: A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.

Bradley Cooper

Photo : Clay Enos

“Maestro” (Netflix)

The talented Bradley Cooper has delivered the goods both in front and behind the camera, most notably with his directing debut “A Star is Born.” Next on his filmmaking docket is the story of the complex composer Leonard Bernstein, whom he’ll also portray. Shooting is scheduled to begin in April, and even with key cast and tech announcements still to come, film enthusiasts are waiting with much anticipation. With an eight Oscar nomination track record for Cooper, if the film has the merits, expect Netflix to throw it in among its new movies per week in 2021 –especially with Carey Mulligan and Jeremy Strong among the cast.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Jeremy Strong

Written by: Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

Synopsis: “Maestro” will tell the complex love story of Leonard and Felicia, a story that spans over 30 years–from the time they met in 1946 at a party and continuing through two engagements, a 25-year marriage, and three children: Jamie Bernstein, Alexander Bernstein and Nina Bernstein Simmons.

Guillermo del Toro

Photo : Danielle Levitt for Variety

“Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)

It’s been four years since visionary director Guillermo del Toro fielded Oscar best picture winner, “The Shape of Water,” winning the directing trophy as well. Helming the psychological thriller and remake of the 1947 classic by Edmund Goulding, he has assembled a masterful ensemble, who collectively have 26 Oscar nominations between them. He also has some of his usual suspects in the artisan realms, including costume designer Luis Sequeira and cinematographer Dan Laustsen.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, David Strathairn, Mary Steenburgen

Written by: Kim Morgan, Guillermo del Toro (based on the novel “Nightmare Alley” by William Lindsay Gresham)

Synopsis: An ambitious young carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.

Other projects in 2021: “Pinocchio” (Netflix)

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Photo : Katie Jones/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

“The Lost Daughter”

Maggie Gyllenhaal has a resume of remarkable performances, Sherrybaby” and “Stranger than Fiction” being prime examples. It’s fair to assume that the same brilliance could translate behind the camera with her debut as a director and screenwriter, based on Elena Ferrante’s novel. Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley and Ed Harris are among the actors who signed on to work with Gyllenhaal, who joins a wave of amazing actresses-turned-directors (most recently with Regina King for “One Night in Miami”). The film is still seeking distribution.

Starring: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal, Ed Harris

Written by: Maggie Gyllenhaal (based on the novel “The Lost Daughter” by Elena Ferrante)

Synopsis: A woman’s beach vacation takes a dark turn when she begins to confront the troubles of her past.

Mélanie Laurent

Photo : Alice Dardun

“The Nightingale” (Sony Pictures Releasing)

It might be surprising to some that one of the breakout stars of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” has directed four films since that time, with two new projects coming in 2021. One of the more interesting of the two is the adaptation of Kristen Hannah’s novel that’s set against the backdrop of World War II starring real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, two powerhouse performers who should both probably have Oscar nominations by this point. Written by Dana Stevens, whose most notable work is on the underrated “City of Angels,” this may find its way onto a strong slate of films from female voices this upcoming year.

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning

Written by: Dana Stevens (based on the novel by Kristen Hannah)

Synopsis: The lives of two sisters living in France are torn apart at the onset of World War II.

Other projects in 2021: “The Mad Woman’s Ball”

Eva Longoria

Photo : Courtesy of Jack Guy

“Flamin’ Hot” (Searchlight Pictures)

The fight for Latinx representation in Hollywood continues, but in 2021, our strong female filmmakers’ visibility will hopefully be seen, particularly with Eva Longoria’s directorial debut. Known informally as the Hot Cheetos movie, the story of Richard Montañez, who started as a janitor at Frito-Lay, is one inspiration. Biopics about Latinx culture in the American mainstream seem to end after “La Bamba” and “Selena,” but hopefully that list will continue to expand. The film is confirmed to be going into production in 2021 from a script by Lewis Colick (“October Sky”) and producer DeVon Franklin.

Starring: Still to be announced.

Written by: Lewis Colick

Synopsis: The story of businessman Richard Montanez, the creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Other projects in 2021: “24/7” (Universal Pictures)

Tom McCarthy

Photo : Dan Doperalski/Variety

“Stillwater” (Focus Features)

Tom McCarthy has had a unique way of telling stories, from his debut “The Station Agent” up to his best picture winner, “Spotlight,” for which he also won the  Oscar for best original screenplay. For his next film, he’s bringing Oscar-winner Matt Damon and Oscar-nominee Abigail Breslin for a story that seems like a dramatic cousin of the real-life Amanda Knox story. Producer Steve Golin, who died in April 2019, was once attached to produce the film.

Starring: Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin

Written by: Thomas Bidegain, Noé Debré, Tom McCarthy

Synopsis: A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his daughter, who has been arrested for murder.

Adam McKay

Photo : Dan Doperalski

“Don’t Look Up” (Netflix)

Whether critics approve or not, it’s one of the coolest things to happen in Hollywood that the director of “Anchorman,” “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys” has totalled five Oscar nominations from his last two films, “Vice” and “The Big Short,” the latter winning for best adapted screenplay. Partnering with Netflix and nearly every famous person in the business for “Don’t Look Up” could be his biggest undertaking yet. The first clip was also the closing shot in Netflix’s “new movie every week in 2021 trailer,” which has to say to the world, “This is the one.” Doesn’t it?

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, Jonah Hill, Ariana Grande, Himesh Patel, Matthew Perry, Tyler Perry, Melanie Lynskey, Ron Perlman, Chris Evans

Written by: Adam McKay

Synopsis: “Don’t Look Up” tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

Benjamin Millepied

Photo : Courtesy of Upside Distribution

“Carmen” (Sony Pictures Classics)

The modern reimagining of one of the most famous operas in history, “Carmen” comes from first-time filmmaker Benjamin Millepied, a former New York ballet dancer who choreographed 2010’s “Black Swan.” Currently shooting in Australia, he’s assembled a cast including Melissa Barrera, gearing up for three big breakout roles with this, “In the Heights” and “Scream,” the fifth installment of the franchise. Millepied has also nabbed “Normal People” star Paul Mescal, who replaced Jamie Dornan. If that doesn’t excite you enough, Oscar-nominated composer Nicholas Britell (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) is on board and writing nine new songs with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas and Taura Stinson.

Starring: Melissa Barrera, Paul Mescal, Rossy de Palma, Elsa Pataky

Written by: Loïc Barrere, Alexander Dinelaris (based on the novel by Prosper Mérimée)Synopsis: Don José, a naive soldier, is seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy Carmen.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Photo : Shayan Asgharnia for Variety

“tick, tick…Boom!” (Netflix)

The love for “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda hasn’t subsided. In what could be his biggest year yet, the Puerto Rican star steps into the director’s chair with his directorial feature debut for the musical “tick, tick…BOOM!” by Jonathan Larson, the brilliant creator of “Rent.” With a cast that includes Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”), Vanessa Hudgens (who played Mimi in the live televised production of “Rent”) and Alexandra Shipp (known for her portrayal of singer Aaliyah in the Lifetime movie), the semi-autobiographical film could add to a celebration of culture and life in 2021.

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Bradley Whitford

Written by: Steven Levenson (based on the musical “Tick, Tick… Boom!” by Jonathan Larson

Synopsis: The story of Jon, an aspiring theater composer who is waiting tables in New York City while writing “Superbia” – which he hopes will be the next great American musical and finally give him his big break.

John Ridley

Photo : Michael Muller for Variety

“Needle in a Timestack” (Lionsgate)

The Oscar-winning screenwriter of “12 Years a Slave” is stepping behind the camera with this science-fiction drama that has collected an intriguing cast, including “One Night in Miami” awards hopeful Leslie Odom Jr., reuniting with his “Harriet” co-star Cynthia Erivo. Adapting the book by Robert Silverberg, we’ll see if he can make this into a box office success before getting into his other project, which is still untitled and said to be a paranormal thriller.

Starring: Leslie Odom, Jr, Orlando Bloom, Cynthia Erivo, Frieda Pinto

Written by: John Ridley (based on the book by Robert Silverberg)

Synopsis: A husband whose marriage is destroyed by a time travel rival will do whatever it takes to get his wife back.

Nicole Riegel

“Holler”

With its first reveal at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020, writer and director Nicole Riegel could be one of the great discoveries of the year. The debut filmmaker was named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch with high praise given to the performance of the young Jessica Barden. With “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig on as an executive producer, the independent studio that has been a haven for interesting new voices on the cinematic scene may have another star on the rise from the former military veteran.

Starring: Jessica Barden, Pamela Adlon, Becky Ann Baker

Written by: Nicole Riegel

Synopsis: To pay for her education, and the chance of a better life, a young woman joins a dangerous scrap metal crew.

Jeymes Samuel

“The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)

Also known as The Bullitts, Jeymes Samuel is partnering with producer Jay-Z on this western with a bombastic cast that includes Jonathan Majors in the leading role and a villainous turn from Idris Elba. Revenge films are typically entertaining, and with the backing of Netflix, this could be one of the finest discoveries of the year.

Starring: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo

Written by: Jeymes Samuel, Boaz Yakin

Synopsis: A man looks to exact revenge against the guy who murdered his parents.

Ridley Scott

Photo : Nadav Kander for Variety

“The Last Duel” (20th Century Studios)

It seems the year 2021 is a time to recognize and celebrate the work of 83-year-old filmmaker Ridley Scott. In March, it will mark exactly 20 years since “Gladiator” won best picture at the Oscars, 30 years since he received his first nomination for “Thelma & Louise” and 44 years since he came onto the Hollywood scene with “The Duellists.” Taking on a historical epic about best friends ordered to fight to the death could give him another swing at the plate. With a script by Oscar-winners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting”), along with Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said”), this could be a bloody fun time at the movies.

Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck, Harriet Walter

Written by: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Nicole Holofcener (based on the book “The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France” by Eric Jager)

Synopsis: A gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance set against the brutality and female oppression of 14th century France.

Other projects in 2021: “Gucci” (United Artists Releasing)

Steven Spielberg

“West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

Steven Spielberg is as synonymous with cinema as Michael Jordan is with basketball. Taking on the classic remake of a ten-Oscar best picture winner has to take guts. If anyone can do it, it’s Spielberg. He has a record of telling multicultural stories with sensitivity and grace (“The Color Purple”). Casting Latinx discoveries like Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose (who spoke about it when promoting Ryan Murphy’s “The Prom”) in iconic roles can only help introduce the story to a new generation of film lovers. With Tony Kushner’s words (“Lincoln”) to back them up, the optimism remains high after being forced to exit the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starring: Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stoll, Brian d’Arcy James, Rita Moreno

Written by: Tony Kushner (based on the musical “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim, and “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare)

Synopsis: An adaptation of the 1957 musical West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Denis Villeneuve

Photo : Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. / Image credit by Chia Bella James

“Dune” (HBO Max/Warner Bros)

The first trailer for “Dune” piqued everyone’s interest with its stunning visuals and talented cast ensemble. The taut storytelling abilities of Denis Villeneuve has been exemplified with films like “Prisoners,” “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049.” His technical crew, no matter who he’s utilizing, the finished product is always a treat. Before shifting out of the 2020-2021 season, the early buzz was electric, so we can hope the rollout sticks the landing. Even with Villeneuve’s open letter blasting the HBO Max deal, this film hopes to set up the next big tentpole franchise with a series of movies for the studio.

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Mamoa, Javier Bardem

Written by: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth (based on the novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert)Synopsis: The story of the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

Lana Wachowski

“Matrix” (HBO Max/Warner Bros)

The franchise that revolutionized cinema in 1999 is back for the fourth installment, now titled “Matrix.” Lana Wachowski is directing without her sister Lilly for the first time in their Hollywood career. Lana has managed to bring back many of the original cast, most notably Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as the twice-deceased Neo and Trinity. Together, the Wachowskis have always had bold ideas, even if they haven’t always landed with critics and audiences. With the storyline still under wraps, we anxiously await some flying kicks, dodging bullets, and epic set pieces.

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lambert Wilson, Daniel Bernhardt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick

Written by: Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksandar Hemon (based on the characters created by The Wachowskis)

Synopsis: Plot unknown

Olivia Wilde

Photo : Courtesy of Francois Duhamel

“Don’t Worry Darling” (Warner Bros.)

Olivia Wilde impressed with her 2019 debut comedy “Booksmart,” written by Katie Silberman. The duo is back together with one of the 2019 Black List scripts from brothers Carey and Shane Van Dyke (“Chernobyl Diaries”). A period film with Oscar-nominee Florence Pugh (2019’s “Little Women”) and Grammy nominee Harry Styles, who showed his acting chops in “Dunkirk,” could have the makings of Wilde’s mainstream breakout. It also helps she’s assembled an impressive technical team that includes cinematographer Matthew Libatique (“Black Swan”) and costume designer Arianne Phillips (“Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”).

Starring: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Kiki Layne, Nick Kroll

Written by: Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke

Synopsis: A 1950’s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

“Memoria” (Neon)

Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been working in the Thai film system for nearly 20 years, gathering a small yet passionate following from American audiences who have found their way to films like “Cemetery of Splendor” and “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” Making his English language debut with Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”) in the leading role should allow enough star power to get audiences interested in discovering his unparalleled style.

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Jeanne Balibar, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Juan Pablo Urrego, Elkin Diaz

Written by: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Synopsis: A woman from Scotland, while traveling in Colombia, begins to notice strange sounds. Soon she begins to think about their appearance.

Chloé Zhao

“Eternals” (Marvel Studios)

A dance at the Oscars could be on the horizon for “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao, and the love could continue with the highly anticipated “Eternals.” With an impending return to the movie theaters and based on the history of Marvel’s success at the box office, Zhao’s take on the immortal alien race could have her helming the future highest-grossing film of 2021. She could also be the first woman of color nominated for directing.

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harrington, Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, Ma Dong-seok, Haaz Sleiman

Written by: Kaz Firpo, Ryan Firpo, Chloé Zhao (based on the comic book series “Eternals” created by Jack Kirby)

Synopsis: Spanning thousands of years, Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” is an epic story featuring a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, The Deviants.

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