By Alexandria Sage
PARIS (Reuters) - Brad Pitt is expected to be among the familiar faces on the Cannes red carpet this year with his latest movie "Killing Them Softly", organizers said on Thursday, underlining the importance of star power for the world's biggest film festival.
The picture, directed by New Zealand-born Andrew Dominik, is in the main competition lineup at the May 16-27 event, held each year on the glamorous French Riviera.
Canada's David Cronenberg is also in competition with "Cosmopolis", starring "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson, while the director's son Brandon is in the smaller "Un Certain Regard" selection with his debut "Antiviral".
Twilight fans will also be keen to get their teeth into "On the Road", directed by Brazilian Walter Salles, an adaptation of Jack Kerouac's classic novel.
Among its cast is Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart, alongside Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst.
There are several previous winners of the coveted Palme d'Or for best picture up for the main prize again this year, including Austria's Michael Haneke ("Amour"/"Love"), Britain's Ken Loach ("The Angel's Share") and Romania's Cristian Mungiu ("Beyond the Hills").
Veteran French film maker and European festival favorite Alain Resnais, 89, is in the main lineup with "Vous n'avez encore rien vu".
Hollywood is in the frame with the third installment of the hit "Madagascar" animation series, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted", which is in 3D.
It will appear out of competition, as will U.S. director Philip Kaufman's "Hemingway & Gellhorn", which could see its star Nicole Kidman in Cannes.
As previously announced, the festival will open with Wes Anderson's 1960s drama "Moonrise Kingdom", starring Bruce Willis and Bill Murray.
The story revolves around two young lovers who run away from their New England homes, prompting locals to send out a search party.
The closing film in 2012 will be Claude Miller's "Therese Desqueyroux", in honor of the French director who died shortly after completing the picture.
This year's jury deciding the awards in the main competition will be led by Italian actor/director Nanni Moretti, who won the Golden Palm in 2001 with "The Son's Room".
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; writing by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)