The director: Walter Salles (Brazilian, 56 years old)
The talent: As if the long-awaited adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Beat classic wasn't going to attract enough eyeballs already on the Croisette, it comes packed to the gills with star names: Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst (who, of course, is the festival's reigning Best Actress), Steve Buscemi, "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss, Terrence Howard and, most excitingly to the red-carpet hordes, Kristen Stewart, whose prominent role here should hopefully remind "Twilight" sceptics of the form she's displayed in such smaller projects as "Adventureland" and "The Runaways."
Against all this star-wattage, the film's co-leads, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund, are comparatively low-profile -- probably a cunning choice for two roles where decades of casting speculation (and any number of megastars attached over the years) has amped up the pressure on whoever plays them. Both men come with points to prove. "TRON: Legacy" was supposed to do more for American hunk Hedlund's brand than it eventually did. Meanwhile, the wiry, offbeat Riley made a startling breakthrough five years ago in "Control," but hasn't consolidated it since -- we'll put his badly misjudged turn in the badly misjudged "Brighton Rock" behind us.