Joel & Ethan Coen's latest black comedy The Ladykillers is heading to the Cannes Film Festivalin May, with a May 18 slot reserved for the film in main competition.

Although the selection is not absolutely finalised, the Coens andthe film's star Tom Hanks were freely talking about the Cannes trip in pressinterviews held for the film last week in Los Angeles.

The Ladykillers, a remake of Alexander Mackendrick's 1955 Ealing classic, opensin the US on March 26 and in France on May 19, a day after the scheduled May 18competition slot.

The film also marks the firstfilm in the brothers' 10-film career on which Ethan Coen has been granted aco-directing credit with Joel Coen by the Directors Guild Of America.Traditionally Joel takes the director credit, while Ethan is producer and theyare both credited as writers. The two brothers also edit their films under thepseudonym Roderick Jaynes.

The Coens have reworked theoriginal film and William Rose's novel to a southern US setting and cast Irma PHall as the elderly widow - this time a staunchly religious black woman - whosehouse is invaded by a bunch of criminals posing as a musical quintet but reallyusing the house as the base for a robbery. Hanks takes the Alec Guinness rolefrom the original, with Marlon Wayans, JK Simmons, Tzi Ma and Ryan Hurst as theother members of the gang.

The Ladykillers is fully financed by Walt Disney Studios and distributedworldwide by Buena Vista and Buena Vista International. Disney previouslyhandled domestic distribution on O Brother, Where Art Thou'

It will be Hanks' first film at Cannes, and he expressedexcitement at walking up the red carpet for the picture.

The Coens, however, are Cannes veterans and The Ladykillers will mark their sixth film incompetition and their seventh in official selection. They unprecedentedly wonboth the Palme d'Or and the directing prize for Barton Fink in 1991, and also scored the directingprize in 1996 for Fargoand in 2001 for The Man Who Wasn't There. Two other Coen films - The Hudsucker Proxy in 1994 and O Brother, Where ArtThou' In 2000 - playedin competition, while Raising Arizona screened out of competition in 1987.

Their last picture, Intolerable Cruelty, had its world premiere at last year'sVenice Film Festival in September.

The Cannes FilmFestival opens on May 12 with a screening of Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education and ends on May 23 with the worldpremiere of Irwin Winkler's Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely.