Leos Carax’s Musical ‘Annette’ Is Happening With Adam Driver, Rihanna (But Not Rooney Mara)

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Have you seen Holy Motors? If not, add it to your to-watch list post-haste. French filmmaker Leos Carax’s bizarro collection of connected vignettes follows a odd man named Mr. Oscar as he goes about his day enacting a series of elaborate role playing scenarios, from a facially-scarred hitman to a hair-eating troll to a motion-capture technician creating an alien phantom. I’m not selling it all that well, but trust me when I say there’s a reason it usually ends up in conversations about the finest films of our young millennium. And continue trusting me when I tell you that news of another feature project from the less-than-prolific Carax is ample reason to prick up your ears and pay attention.

Today brings the marvelous news that Amazon has laid claim to Annette, Carax’s new film featuring Adam Driver and Barbadian pop starlet Rihanna. The Variety item announcing Amazon’s big ticket buy refers to the film as a “music-filled drama” as opposed to the simpler “musical,” and the article goes on to clarify that “the script was written by and features original songs by Sparks, the art-rock band founded in 1971 by Ron and Russell Mael.” So the extent to which the film actually qualifies as a musical has yet to be seen. But that director and cast pairing is more than reason enough to mark this down on the calendar, even with formerly-announced star Rooney Mara out of the picture. Once Carax has landed a replacement for her (what's Dakota Johnson up to these days, anyway?) shooting will begin this spring.

Carax’s Holy Motors and the earlier Mauvais Sang both contain rightly vaunted musical sequences, but the prospect of the director tackling the genre head-on, and with A-list movie stars (one of whom, I repeat, is Rihanna), is too much to handle. How do we fast-forward through the next year?

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