Julianne Moore won the Best Actress prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for her performance as a jaded, aging actress clinging desperately to what’s left of her fame in David Cronenberg’s Hollywood-skewering Maps to the Stars. The performance, regarded by many critics at Cannes as one of the best of the actress’ esteemed career, instantly sparked talk of an awards run. However, it appears that Maps may not be in the fray for the 2014 awards season after all, as Focus World, the alternative distribution division of Focus Features, has picked up U.S. rights to the film and may be eyeing an early 2015 release date.
Cronenberg’s subversive Hollywood drama revolves around a family in the industry haunted by ghosts from their past as well as their individual desires for fame and fortune. Tensions arise when a mysterious figure (played by Mia Wasikowska) comes to Hollywood and becomes an assistant to Moore. The ensemble cast is rounded out by John Cusack (High Fidelity), Olivia Williams (Rushmore), Sarah Gadon (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Evan Bird (TV’s The Killing), and Robert Pattinson (reuniting with Cronenberg after the 2012 feature Cosmopolis).
The film seeks to deconstruct and skewer celebrity and Hollywood’s sycophantic culture. As a whole it received mixed reviews when it premiered at Cannes, which could explain why Focus World may be angling for a 2015 release, as the film will surely prove difficult to market in the busy pull of awards season. It remains unclear at this point if Maps to the Stars will get a full theatrical release or if the film will predominately play on VOD (Video-On-Demand). In a last minute push, Focus World could decide on a 2014 awards-qualifying run, if only to to capitalize on the momentum and buzz of Moore’s performance. In the past Moore has received four Academy Award nominations (Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, Far From Heaven, The Hours) and is considered by many to be greatly overdue.
The film is next scheduled to play at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival (unsurprising considering that’s home turf for the Canadian-born Cronenberg) followed by its U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival. Release plans may be determined by the reactions the film receives at those festivals.