The 12-day event will bring top actors – and maybe some nicer weather – to the south of France

By Dana Kennedy
May 12, 2010 07:30 AM

The stars should brighten things up on the French Riviera this week as the 63rd Cannes Film Festival opens Wednesday night – in the wake of uncommonly gloomy, even freakish weather in the picturesque resort area.

Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett are set to walk the red carpet on Wednesday for the world premiere of Robin Hood, which kicks off the proceedings. Other big names expected to attend the 12-day festival include Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Michael Douglas, Kate Beckinsale and Javier Bardem.

That’s if they all make it. The normally sunny town has been dark and rainy of late, with a freak storm’s 18-foot waves damaging seafront restaurants last week, leaving thick sand along the famed Croisette and overturning cars. And the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland is still causing problems, closing the Nice airport on Sunday.

“Don’t worry, we’re ready,” a rep for the Cannes mayor’s office tells PEOPLE. “You can’t even tell we had a storm.”

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Mick Jagger is expected in town for the premiere of a documentary about Exile on Main Street, which the Rolling Stones made while living in a mansion east of Cannes. Jagger’s 18-year-old daughter, Georgia, beat him to the south of France by a few days – and made waves of her own by modeling in Karl Lagerfeld’s pre-Cannes “Cruise 2011” show for Chanel in St. Tropez.

Among the highly anticipated films this year are Fair Game, which stars Penn and Watts and tells the story of CIA agent Valerie Plame; You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, directed by Woody Allen and starring Watts and Josh Brolin; Inside Job, a documentary about the global financial crisis narrated by Matt Damon; and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, starring Douglas and LaBeouf.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, mainstays at the festival in recent years, won’t be attending. Pitt’s upcoming movie, Tree of Life, directed by Terence Malick, was eyeing Cannes for a premiere but was not completed in time.