In the Works: DuVernay, the Coens, and More

A number of projects in the works have been announced since Thursday’s overall roundup, and we begin with Michael O'Connell for the Hollywood Reporter: “Ava DuVernay is adapting the story of the ‘Central Park Five’ for Netflix. The multihyphenate, currently one of the most in-demand talents in film and television, has signed on to write and direct a five-part miniseries about the notorious case of five young black men wrongly convicted of a brutal rape that took place in Manhattan's famous park during the spring of 1989.”

“Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Zoe Kazan, Tyne Daly, Stephen Root, and Ralph Ineson are nearing deals to star in the Coen brothers’ ambitious TV project The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” reports Jeff Sneider at the Tracking Board. The six-part omnibus series is “slated to start production later this month in New Mexico and run through the end of September.”

THR’s Rebecca Ford reports that several studios are bidding against each other to take on an adaption of Swan Lake starring Felicity Jones and directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name).

Paramount has set a date for Ang Lee’s Gemini Man: October 4, 2019. THR’s Ashley Lee: “Will Smith is set to star as an aging assassin who tried to get out of the business but finds himself in the ultimate battle: fighting his own clone who is 25 years younger than him and at the peak of his abilities.”

Variety’s Kristopher Tapley gets David Lowery (A Ghost Story) talking about the project that would follow Old Man and the Gun with Robert Redford, which “plays into some of the iconography that he’s known for, and also hearkens back to my favorite film of his, which is Downhill Racer, by Michael Ritchie.” Peter Pan will see Lowery working with Disney again after last year’s Pete’s Dragon. “I do acknowledge that there are a lot of versions of this material. . . . You can make people feel like they’re watching it for the first time. That would be the challenge I set for myself.”

The Playlist’s Kevin Jagernauth notes that in yesterday’s Reddit AMA, Steven Soderbergh mentioned that he’s been reworking his 1991 film Kafka for the past fifteen years—and hopes to release this new version by the end of the year. At the A.V. Club, William Hughes reports on another moment from the AMA: “‘Season three of The Knick was set in 1947 and was going—at my absolute insistence—to be shot in anamorphic black-and-white,’ Soderbergh wrote, adding, ‘It’s POSSIBLE that may have contributed to its demise . . .’”

John Carpenter and his producing partner, Sandy King, have signed to “executive produce scripted programming” for Universal Cable Productions, reports Joe Otterson for Variety. “UCP and Carpenter are already in development on Tales for a Halloween Night for SYFY. Based on Carpenter’s award-winning graphic novel anthology of stories, the series brings together storytellers from the worlds of movies, novels, and comics for a collection of horror stories featuring graveyards, sunken ships, and all the things that go bump in the night.”

“Steve Buscemi has been cast in the new Netflix comedy The Week Of, starring Adam Sandler and Chris Rock,” reports Variety’s Dave McNary. “Veteran Saturday Night Live writer and producer Robert Smigel is directing the film,” which “centers around the week of preparation for a wedding between Sandler’s character’s daughter and Rock’s character’s son.”

“Saban Films has picked up North American rights to the action comedy Killing Gunther starring Arnold Schwarzenegger,” reports Screen’s Jeremy Kay. “Taran Killam directed and stars alongside the former California governor, who plays a showboating hitman who becomes the target of a group of jealous fellow assassins.”

Laurent Tirard is currently wrapping Le Retour du héros with Jean Dujardin, Noémie Merlant, and Mélanie Laurent. Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa: “Captain Neuville is a great romancer. He has just asked for the hand of young Pauline in marriage, under the watchful and distrustful eye of Elisabeth, the latter’s sister. But Neuville is called to the front and Pauline receives no news of him. While Pauline slowly but surely wastes away, Elisabeth picks up a pen and starts writing to Pauline pretending to be Neuville, making him into a true war hero. But the captain ends up resurfacing, to the great displeasure of Elisabeth . . .”

“I have a dream of doing a Kanye West biopic,” Trey Edward Shults (It Comes at Night) tells Jacob Stolworthy in the Independent. He wants “to make the ultimate one-of-a-kind biopic we haven’t yet seen [that will] explore this man. There’s so much to explore. I just want to chill out with Kanye and make something great. I think he’ll like this next movie that I’m writing.” Via Kevin Jagernauth at the Playlist.

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