Cue the paparazzi: Cinema’s rite of spring – the Cannes Film Festival – will feature an all-star cast, as will be officially announced on Thursday. But, for now, PEOPLE has learned that fans can expect to find Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, as well as Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson sharing the spotlight along the Croisette from May 11 through 22.
In addition, invitations to the 64th Cannes Fest are also out to Rolling Stone Keith Richards, Madonna, Jack Black and France’s First Lady, Carla Bruni, who happens to be making her acting debut in a Woody Allen movie.
One thing is already for certain: Robert DeNiro will be sticking around the entire fest – he is the head of the jury that hands out the prizes.
Topping the list of premieres is the multi-generational saga Tree of Life, starring Pitt and Penn and directed by the highly regarded Terence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven). Pitt will no doubt remain in the South of France during the first half of the festival, which will also bring a sneak peek of Kung Fu Panda 2, featuring the voice of Jolie, as well as that of Dustin Hoffman and Jack Black.
Depp’s appearance is keyed to a world premiere, that of Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which marks the return of Jack Sparrow. Cruz is among the costars.
The festival’s previously announced Opening Selection, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, will bring to Cannes cast members Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody and, it is anticipated, Marion Cotillard, though she is due to give birth at the end of April.
Also on the agenda: a special tribute to the late Elizabeth Taylor, whose amFAR event to benefit her AIDS foundation has become an annual Cannes event.
By Peter Mikelbank and Stephen M. Silverman