In the Works: Assayas, Soderbergh, and More

Olivier Assayas’s next project is E-book, a “full-blown comedy” starring starring Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Theret and Pascal Gregory, report John Hopewell and Emiliano Granada for Variety. In Locarno, where he’s currently presiding over the competition jury, Assayas said that this would be “very much actor and dialogue-driven, part film, part narrative, part essay” about how “we adapt or don’t adapt to the way the world’s changing.”

The TIFF Cinematheque retrospective Something in the Air: The Cinema of Olivier Assayas rolls on in the meantime through August 20. For the TIFF Review, Andrew Tracy talks with Assayas about how “the fallout from May ’68” has impacted his work, his years as a film critic, and his use of genre.

“I just want to do it, sell it, and have it drop and that’s it.” That’s Steven Soderbergh, talking to Zach Baron in GQ about Unsane, the horror movie he’s shot on an iPhone in ten days with Claire Foy and Juno Temple. Baron: “This fall will see the release of a new HBO project, Mosaic—an interactive, ‘branching narrative’ app, followed by a linear reprise of the same story on television, starring Sharon Stone. Scott Z. Burns, who wrote The Informant! and Contagion and Side Effects for Soderbergh, is working on a new script about the Panama Papers that Soderbergh hopes to direct. He and Lem Dobbs, who wrote The Limey, are working on a new TV show together.” In short, he has most definitely not retired.

“Maika Monroe has joined Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert in The Widow, the Neil Jordan-directed thriller,” reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. “Moretz plays Frances, a young woman who returns an elderly widow’s lost purse, leading to an unlikely relationship between the two—until the young woman discovers her elder might not be all that she seems and that she’s downright dangerous.”

Also, Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart,Out of the Furnace) will direct his adaptation of Hampton Sides’s 2010 book Hellhound on his Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Man Hunt for His Assassin.

Screen’s Jeremy Kay reports that “Damien Chazelle’s screenplay The Claim has found its director—Ericson Core, whose credits include the Point Break reboot and Disney sports drama Invincible.” This will be “the story of a single father with a criminal past who races to find his kidnapped daughter while another couple claim the child is theirs.”

Deadline’s Patrick Hipes has a release date for Alex Garland’s Annihilation: February 23, 2018. Natalie Portman “plays a grieving biologist who signs on for a secret expedition into alien territory.” Also cast are Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Gina Rodriguez.

“This isn’t going to be just any movie”

“Crystal Moselle, whose documentary The Wolfpack picked up a Sundance Grand Jury prize in 2015, is set to make her narrative feature directorial debut,” reports Amanda N’Duka for Deadline. This will be “the story of Camille, a lonely suburban teenager whose life changes dramatically when she befriends a group of girl skateboarders,” and the untitled project “will star real-life New York City skateboarders Rachelle Vinberg, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, Kabrina Adams, Jules Lorenzo as well as Jaden Smith and Orange Is the New Black’s Elizabeth Rodriguez.”

This is Us writer Kay Oyegun has been tapped to pen the biopic of civil rights activist Angela Davis,” according to the Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit. “Nina Yang Bongiovi, who produced Dope and Fruitvale Station, and Sidra Smith are producing, while Forest Whitaker is executive producing, as is Davis.”


Steve Greene (IndieWire) and Kevin Jagernauth (Playlist) report on three original series CBS All Access is lining up:

  • David Lowery (A Ghost Story) will direct and executive produce Strange Angel, based on George Pendle’s book about Jack Parsons, “a mysterious and brilliant man in 1940s Los Angeles, who by day helps birth the entirely unknown discipline of American rocketry, and by night is a performer of sex magick rituals and a disciple to occultist Aleister Crowley,” as CBS puts it.
  • Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s drug bust comedy No Activity “follows two low-level cops who have spent far too much time in a car together; two criminals who are largely kept in the dark; two dispatch workers who haven’t really clicked; and two Mexican tunnelers who are in way too small a space considering they’ve only just met.”
  • And Jagernauth tells us that $1, directed and executive produced by Craig Zobel (Compliance,Z For Zachariah), “will see a bunch of small town characters all connected by the titular monetary note, with the story revolving around a multiple murder.”

Variety’s Joe Otterson reports that Amazon is developing an “alt-history series” from Will Packer and Aaron McGruder that “will explore a world in which newly freed African Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as reparations for slavery. The new nation, known as New Colonia, has a tumultuous relationship with the United States government.” It is, in short, the anti-Confederate.

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