Zoe Saldana and Karla Sofia Gascon in a still from 'Emilia Perez'
(Why Not Productions)

‘Emilia Pérez’: When Is the Cannes Hit Coming to Theaters?

One of the biggest films at Cannes is a musical comedy about a trans gangster, co-starring Selena Gomez.

Spanish musical-comedy-drama Emilia Pérez received a warm reception at Cannes, earning a nine-minute standing ovation from the audience.

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The plot centers around a feared drug cartel leader who enlists an “overqualified and undervalued” lawyer to help obtain the sex change operation she’s always wanted. Karla Sofia Gascón, a Spanish actress and trans woman, portrays cartel leader Juan “Small Hands” Del Monte/Emilia Perez, while Zoe Saldaña stars as her lawyer, Rita Moro Castro. Pop sensation Selena Gomez plays the titular character’s wife, with Edgar Ramírez, Mark Ivanir, and Adriana Paz featuring in supporting roles.

The movie is directed by Jacques Audiard, whose films have historically done well at the Cannes Film Festival. His 2009 release A Prophet won the Grand Prix in 2010, while the 2012 film Rust and Bone competed for the Palme d’Or at the festival. Audiard’s 2015 film Dheepan eventually ended up winning the coveted prize.

French singer Camille has provided the original songs for the film, and the original score was composed by Clement Ducol. Damien Jalet assisted with the musical choreography for Emilia Pérez. The director has described the film as an “opera libretto in four acts,” with the actors breaking out into original songs to further the plot. Audiard’s film has been praised for a queer backdrop, and it is set to compete for the Queer Palm, apart from the Palme d’Or.

Emilia Pérez premiered at the film festival on May 18 and is scheduled to be theatrically released in France on August 28, 2024, by Pathé. The film is produced by Why Not Productions and Page 114, in co-production with France 2 Cinema and Pimienta Films. Saint Laurent Productions, the media production arm of fashion house Yves St. Laurent, is attached as a co-producer too.

The film holds an approval rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and judging by the fanfare it received at Cannes, Emilia Pérez is likely to do well when it finally hits theaters in the U.S.—hopefully before the end of the year.


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