In the Works: Von Trotta’s Bergman Documentary and More

The Daily — May 17, 2017

With her son, Felix Moeller (Forbidden Films), Margarethe von Trotta (The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, Hannah Arendt) will direct the documentary Ingmar Bergman – Legacy of a Defining Genius, reports Variety’s John Hopewell: “Exploring Bergman’s work with his closest collaborators, in front of and behind the camera, as well as a new generation of filmmakers influenced by him, Von Trotta’s film is scheduled to shoot from Summer 2017, in time for its release to coincide with the centenary of Bergman’s birth next year.”

Also pegged to the centenary will be Jane Magnusson’s documentary Bergman, “conceived as a feature film and four-part TV series,” as Geoffrey Macnab reports for Screen.

William Friedkin’s documentary The Devil and Father Amorth focuses on “the Vatican’s in-house exorcist,” according to Deadline’s Anita Busch. “Friedkin, of course, directed the screen adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist in 1973.”

“Morgan Neville, who took home an Oscar for 20 Feet From Stardom in 2014, is turning his camera to the Hollywood auteur Orson Welles, focusing on the final 15 years of his life,” reports Cara Buckley for the New York Times. “The film will serve as a companion piece of sorts to Welles’s final unfinished opus, the satirical The Other Side of the Wind, which now appears closer to completion after Netflix stepped in. The streaming service is producing Mr. Neville’s documentary, too.”

Mike Leigh’s historical film Peterloo will begin shooting next week on location in England,” reports Screen’s Tom Grater.Peterloo tells the story of the infamous Peterloo massacre of 1819. The event saw British government forces charge into a crowd of 60,000 that had gathered in St Peter’s Field in Manchester to demand political reform.”

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree is in post-production, reports Screen’s Melanie Goodfellow. “The film revolves around aspiring writer Sinan who returns to his native village and pours his heart and soul into scraping together the money he needs to get himself published. But in the backdrop his father’s debts catch up with him, putting a stop to his personal aspirations.”

“Coming off festival hit Call Me By Your Name, and the upcoming Suspiria remake, Italian helmer Luca Guadagnino is prepping to direct an untitled thriller penned by Steven Knight.” Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione hears that Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal "are being courted to star . . . The story centers on two old friends, one a business titan and the other a journalist.”

A24 is in Cannes with Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time and now, as Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. reports, the company’s picked up worldwide rights to Uncut Gems, the brothers’ next project co-written with Ronald Bronstein and starring Jonah Hill. “Uncut Gems is an original story set in the unscrupulous, fast-paced world of the New York City Diamond District.” Oh, and one of the executive producers is Martin Scorsese.

Bi Gan’s followup to Kaili Blues will be Long Day’s Journey Into Night, featuring Tang Wei (Lust, Caution), Sylvia Chang (Mountains May Depart), Huang Jue (The Final Master), Lee Hong-chi (Thanatos, Drunk) and the lead in Bi Gan’s debut, Chen Yongzhong. Liz Shackleton for Screen: “The story follows a man who returns to his hometown to find a mysterious woman whom he spent an unforgettable summer with twelve years earlier. The woman never told him her name, or any details of her life, and the only thing he remembers is the name of a movie star she wrote on a cigarette packet.”

Tim Sutton will follow up on Dark Night and Memphis with Donnybrook, an adaptation of Frank Bill’s 2013 noir novel, reports Variety’s Elsa Keslassy. The story “turns on a cash-strapped family man who competes in the Donnybrook, ‘a legendary, bare-knuckle brawl where a $100,000 prize goes to the last man standing.’”

Keslassy also talks with Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) about his next animated feature, Mirai, which “follows a 4-year old boy who is struggling to cope with the arrival of a little sister in the family, until things turn magical. A mysterious garden in the backyard of the boy’s home becomes a gateway allowing the child to travel in time and encounter his mother as a little girl, his great-grandfather as a young man and his sister has a grown woman.”

Shooting has wrapped on Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite with Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman, reports Indiewire’s Jude Dry: “Described as a ‘bawdy, acerbic tale of royal intrigue, passion, envy, and betrayal,’ the film is set in 18th century England during the court of Queen Anne (Colman). Weisz plays Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough and confidante, advisor, and secret lover to the Queen. The power shifts when the Duchess’s younger cousin (Stone) arrives to court, and the two women battle for influence and the Queen’s affections.”

We have news of two projects Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) is working on. Jacki Weaver is joining Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, and Michelle Rodriguez in Widows. The Hollywood Reporter’s Mia Galuppo: “Based on the 1980s British TV series of the same name, Widows centers on the wives of armed robbers who get gunned down. The women then decide to finish the job their spouses started.” And at Indiewire, Graham Winfrey reports that McQueen will direct an authorized documentary about Tupac Shakur.

More from Winfrey: “Bob and Harvey Weinstein have personally acquired the worldwide rights to Michael Moore’s surprise documentary Fahrenheit 11/9, currently in production . . . Moore has kept the film under wraps for ‘many months.’ The ‘11/9’ in the title refers to the day Donald Trump was declared President of the United States, at 2:29AM in the morning of November 9, 2016.”

“Valeria Golino (Respiro) and Alba Rohrwacher (I Am Love) are set to co-star in Daughter of Mine to be directed by Italy’s Laura Bispuri, whose transgender-themed Sworn Virgin made an international splash,” reports Variety’s Nick Vivarelli. They’ll be playing “the adoptive and biological mothers, respectively, of a 10-year-old girl, whose affection they vie for.”

“With Alien: Covenant only just arriving in theaters, [Ridley] Scott revealed to IGN UK that he’s currently working on the screenplay for its sequel, which is to head into production in 2018.” Amy Bowker has more at Little White Lies.

Jeff Goldblum is joining Jodie Foster, Dave Bautista, and Sofia Boutella in Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce’s directorial debut, Hotel Artemis, reports Jeff Sneider at the Tracking Board. Last Summer, Variety’s Justin Kroll noted that the “near-future thriller, set in its own distinctive crime universe, is drawing comparisons to Ex Machina, Drive, and Looper.

Neil Jordan will direct Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz in The Widow. The Hollywood Reporter’s Rebecca Ford tells us that the story “follows a young woman who is missing her deceased mother and is new to Manhattan. She strikes up an unlikely friendship with an older widow, but the widow’s intentions turn out to be sinister.”

And in The Bookseller, an adaptation of Cynthia Swanson’s 2015 novel, Julia Roberts will play Kitty Miller, “a single woman who runs a bookshop, who finds herself living out an alternate life—one in which she is married to the love of her life and has beautiful children—in her dreams. The lines between her real-life and dream life begin to blur, and she must figure out what is real and what is imagined.”

Also, “Johnny Depp will star in King of the Jungle, a dark comedy based on the true story of John McAfee, creator of the McAfee antivirus software. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa [I Love You Phillip Morris] will direct from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski [American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson].”

And Sebastian Lelio will direct Julianne Moore in a film inspired by his own Gloria (2013). Says Lelio: “It's going to be like jazz, you’ll feel the spirit of the original story but it’ll be re-invigorated and vital.”

Ford and Borys Kit report that Dave Chappelle “has joined Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in Warner Bros.’ remake of A Star Is Born. Cooper is not only starring opposite Lady Gaga, but is making his directorial debut with the film.” The cast also includes Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Elliott.

Also, Zac Efron “will star as Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which will be helmed by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory).”

Catherine Hardwicke will direct Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and newcomer Ismael Cruz Córdova in a remake of Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala (2011). Deadline’s Amanda N'Duka: “Rodriguez stars Gloria Meyer who, after her friend Suzu goes missing in Tijuana, finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game being played by the CIA, the DEA and a charismatic young crime boss. Cordova will play Lino, a master manipulator and highly charismatic survivor who has gotten as far as he has through ballsy plays for power.”

In 1966, Truman Capote hosted the Black and White Ball in honor of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. Amy Fine Collins for Vanity Fair in 1996: “What gave the Black and White brew its intoxicating piquancy was the fact that he had flung together, in a gilt-edged melting pot, the most alluring power brokers in the worlds of high society, politics, the arts, and Hollywood—disconnected universes that collided, if not for the first time that evening, then at least with unprecedented force.” Later this year, Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman (American Splendor) will begin shooting Party of the Century with Jack O’Connell, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Josh Gad. Screen’s Andreas Wiseman has more.

Also, Carol Morley (Dreams of a Life, The Falling) will direct Patricia Clarkson, Toby Jones, Mamie Gummer, and Teyonah Parris in Out of Blue, “based on Martin Amis’s neo-noir detective novel Night Train.

And Brian Welsh, “who recently helmed The Entire History of You, a popular episode of Charlie Brooker’s hit series Black Mirror,” will direct Beats with Steven Soderbergh on board as executive producer: “Set in a small Scottish town in the mid 90s, the film tells the story of best friends Johnno and Spanner… In pursuit of adventure and escape the boys head out on one last night together to an illegal rave.”

At Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier has the latest on three films Pathé International is taking to Market at Cannes: Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro, with Toni Servillo as former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi; Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Strangers, an adaptation of Sarah Waters’s novel with Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, and Will Poulter; and Dany Boon's La Ch'tite famille, a followup to his huge international hit, Welcome to the Sticks (2008).

Rosamund Pike is “in advanced negotiations to star as Marie Curie” in Radioactive, the next project from Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), report Variety’s John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy.

In Georgetown, Christoph Waltz’s directorial debut, Vanessa Redgrave will play Elsa Brecht, “a wealthy widow seduced and married by eccentric social climber Ulrich Mott, played by Waltz,” reports Robert Mitchell for Variety. “When Elsa is found dead just hours after a dinner party, Ulrich immediately becomes the chief suspect, having always been perceived as a con man by Elsa’s daughter, Amanda, a federal judge.”

Also, the “action thriller” Close will see Noomi Rapace playing “a female bodyguard and counter-terrorist expert who is assigned the job of protecting a young, rich heiress in Bangkok.”

James Marsh (The Theory of Everything) is “in negotiations” to direct Michelle Williams and Chris Pine in All the Old Knives, about “a pair of ex-lovers—one a CIA spy, one a former agency spy—who meet up in the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. While reminiscing, they relive a disastrous old mission, that of a hijacking of a Jordanian airline. But a steely undercurrent runs through the dinner.” THR’s Borys Kit has more.

Also, Hellboy may be coming back, but without Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman. Instead, Neil Marshall would direct David Harbour (Stranger Things) as the demon superhero.

And Michael Radford (Il Postino) will direct Antonio Banderas and Alec Baldwin in a biopic with the working title Lamborghini – The Legend.

Kit also reports that Claire Foy, “who stars as Queen Elizabeth on Netflix’s The Crown, is Sony’s choice to step up to the keyboard to play hacker Lisbeth Salander in its adaptation of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

War Witch and Two Lovers and a Bear director Kim Nguyen is prepping his follow-up, The Hummingbird Project, with Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard set to star in the high-speed drama,” reports Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione. Eisenberg and Skarsgard will play “cousins from New York, Vincent and Anton, who are players in the high-stakes game of High Frequency Trading, where winning is measured in nanoseconds.”

“Peter Webber will direct his second film based on a renowned work of art after 2003’s Girl with a Pearl Earring,” reports Screen’s Jeremy Kay.The Medusa stars [Jesse] Eisenberg as Theodore Gericault, the early 19th century pioneer of the French Romantic movement whose masterpiece The Raft of The Medusa was inspired by the sinking of a French frigate.” Also cast are Pierce Brosnan and Vanessa Redgrave.

Also, Viggo Mortensen will star in Robert Lorenz’s Unabomb, which “centers on one of the largest manhunts in history as FBI agent Jim Freeman, played by Mortensen, takes on the unsolved case of the Unabomber, who terrorized Americans with 16 bombings over the course of two decades.”

And: “John Hawkes, Logan Lerman, and Sarah Bolger will star in the road trip project End of Sentence,” which will tell "the story of an uptight widower who embarks on a journey to Ireland with his ex-con son to scatter his wife’s ashes…. Elfar Adalsteins makes his feature directorial debut.”

Also, Nick Cassavetes will direct Blake Lively in Bruised, “described as Million Dollar Baby set in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.”

“Diane Keaton and Jacki Weaver are set to star in Poms, a comedy about a group of women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement community,” reports Deadline’s Diana Lodderhose. “Zara Hayes, best known for her documentary The Battle of the Sexes, directs.”

Meanwhile, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) “have formed the film and TV production banner Stolen Picture” and set up a horror comedy. “Slaughterhouse Rulez is set in an elite boarding school—Welcome to Slaughterhouse—where boys and girls are groomed for power and greatness and they’re about to meet their match.”

Also, “James McAvoy is set to star in Escape, the Blacklist script written by Vanya Asher with The Girl with All the Gifts helmer Colm McCarthy set to direct . . . It’s a harrowing and heart-breaking true story about a professor (McAvoy) who is caught in Sarajevo as the city is turned into an explosive battleground and who sacrifices his own safety to stay behind and continue teaching. But as the massacre escalates, his window of opportunity to join his family is quickly closing and he must fight his way out amidst the turmoil.”

And Julie Delpy is “set to join” Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly, Paterson) in Girls of the Sun, to be directed by Eva Husson (Bang Gang). It’s “about a battalion of female resistance fighters who unite to take back their small Kurdish town that has been conquered by extremists.”

And: “Johnny Depp is set to star in Richard Says Goodbye, a comedy-drama from writer-director Wayne Roberts (Katie Says Goodbye)…. Story sees Depp play Richard, a world-weary college professor who is given a life-changing diagnosis and then decides to throw all pretense and conventions to the wind and live his life as boldly and freely as possible.”

Also: "Kate Beckinsale, Damson Idris, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw have been cast in Farming, the directorial debut from Nigerian-British writer-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje,” which “chronicles his own story growing up fostered by a white working-class family in the UK.”

One more from Diana Lodderhose: “Richard E. Grant, Jeremy Irvine, and Sam Neill are set to join historical action drama The Guinea Pig Club,” which “tells the remarkable true story of maverick surgeon Archie McIndoe (Grant) who, at the height of World War II, defied the British establishment with his radical methods aimed at healing the severely burned bodies—and more importantly the tortured souls—of Britain’s heroic Royal Air Force pilots.” Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job) is “in final negotiations to direct.”

Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) will direct Little Dragon, “an authorized biopic of martial arts legend Bruce Lee,” reports Patrick Frater for Variety. “The story is a contemporary dramatization of the 1950s Hong Kong social and political forces that shaped Bruce Lee into both the most famous martial arts star of all time and a significant modern day philosopher.”

Back to THR’s Mia Galuppo: “Will Ferrell is attached to star in an untitled comedy pitch that was acquired by Paramount about a washed-up TV star that reunites with his now-grown and very successful TV-show son, played by Jason Momoa.”

“Margot Robbie will star in and produce Dreamland, a thriller Miles Joris-Peyrafitte will direct,” reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. Set in the 1930s, the story “follows fifteen-year-old Eugene Evans on his quest to capture a fugitive bank robber (Robbie) and collect the bounty on her head. Against all odds, he beats out the FBI and the local police to find her, only to discover that she’s far more than what the authorities claim her to be.”

“Michael Rooker, of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead fame, is reuniting with his Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer director John McNaughton on a film adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find," reports Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka.

Back to Deadline’s Anita Busch: “Bruce Dern and Gil Bellows have joined the indie feature Nation’s Fire, from writer-director Thomas Churchill. Described as Easy Rider meets The Professional, the story is about a Marine (Paul Sloan) who has to help a woman (Krista Grotte) seeking revenge for the death of her son.”


“Lenny Belardo, the tormented American pontiff played by Jude Law in Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope, is pope no more,” reports Variety’s Nick Vivarelli. “HBO and Sky have teamed up on The New Pope, a new limited series to be directed by Sorrentino that will not be a second season of The Young Pope. The show will be ‘set in the world of the modern papacy,’ but HBO and Sky declined to release further details of the story.”

Moonlight’s André Holland has been cast as the lead in Hulu’s upcoming psychological-horror drama series Castle Rock from J. J. Abrams and Stephen King,” reports Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva. “Holland will play Henry, a death row attorney with a unique and complicated history in Castle Rock, Maine.”

Ben Stiller will direct Benicio Del Toro and Patricia Arquette in Escape at Clinton Correctional, report THR’s Bryn Elise Sandberg and Borys Kit. The limited series “will tell the real-life story of Richard Matt and David Sweat, two inmates who were discovered missing at the maximum security Clinton Correction Facility in New York after being aided in their escape by a married female prison employee with whom they both became sexually entangled.”

Taylor Sheridan, who’s written Sicario and Hell or High Water, will write and executive produce Yellowstone with Kevin Costner as John Dutton, “who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, under constant attack by those it borders.” Yellowstone “is an intense study of a violent world far from media scrutiny—where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world’s largest oil and lumber corporations.”

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