In the Works: Wright, Gondry, and More

Joe Wright (Atonement) will direct Casey Affleck in Andrew Bovell’s adaptation of John Williams’s 1965 novel Stoner, reports Variety’s Justin Kroll. “The movie will follow the life of William Stoner, a dirt-poor farmer turned academic, who emerges as an unlikely existential hero while making his way through the first half of the 20th Century.” In 2013, in a piece entitled “The Greatest American Novel You’ve Never Heard Of,” Tim Kreider wrote in the New Yorker: “The novel embodies the very virtues it exalts, the same virtues that probably relegate it, like its titular hero, to its perpetual place in the shade.” That may well change now.

Also, Fernando Meirelles (City of God) will “direct an untitled film centered on the relationship between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis” for Netflix. “Benedict will be played by Anthony Hopkins and Francis will be played by Jonathan Pryce.”

“I have two projects: a rather personal film about my creative wanderings while shooting a movie, with rather extreme and illogical things, and a TV series for an American channel.” That’s Michel Gondry, talking to Simon Giroux of La Presse via the Playlist’s Kevin Jagernauth, who adds: “Meanwhile, Gondry also revealed he’s made some kind of video for Beyoncé, and it’s ready to go. ‘Unfortunately, it’s not out yet because she [has] twins, but it’s a finished clip [and it turned out] very, very well, I think.’”

The Tracking Board’s Edward Douglas reports that John Crowley (Brooklyn) will direct an adaptation of Bernard MacLaverty’s novel Midwinter Break, which “tells the story of Gerry and Stella Gilmore, a retired couple who fly from their home in Scotland to Amsterdam for a long weekend during midwinter break to do some sightseeing and take stock on their lives, but it will instead reveal deep uncertainties that exist between them as memories of troubled times from their past in Ireland resurface.”

Michael Showalter (The Big Sick) will direct the “contemporary Western-slash-thriller” The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob, reports Ramin Setoodeh for Variety. “The story will follow a real-life 90s Texas bank robber named Peggy Jo Tallas, who got away with her heists by dressing up as a man, aka ‘Cowboy Bob.’”

Mélanie Laurent and Nick Kroll are joining Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley in Chris Weitz’s Operation Finale, a “drama about the successful hunt and capture of notorious Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in the 1960s,” reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr.

“Oscar-winner Judi Dench and rising talent Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) will lead Red Joan for director Trevor Nunn,” reports Screen’s Tom Grater. Lindsay Shapiro’s written the “adaptation of Jennie Rooney’s eponymous 2014 novel which itself took its inspiration from the true story of Melita Norwood, a woman unmasked at age 87 as the KGB’s longest-serving British spy.”

“Hannibal Pictures has acquired Mario van Peebles’s directed and produced thriller Armed in which he also stars,” reports Deadline’s Anita Busch. “Van Peebles has said in previous interviews about the film that he pulled from real events and took a hard look at what kind of people are allowed to have weapons. As part of his research for the film, he also spoke to those in the gun violence prevention movement to understand the issues and in order to craft a realistic thriller.”

“Colin Trevorrow is no longer directing Star Wars: Episode IX.Borys Kit and Mia Galuppo have more in the Hollywood Reporter.


“CBS is developing a TV adaptation of L.A. Confidential,” reports Variety’s Joe Otterson. “Based on James Ellroy’s classic novel of the same name, the series would follow the paths of three homicide detectives, a female reporter, and a Hollywood actress as they intersect while the detectives pursue a sadistic serial killer through the seedy underbelly of 1950s Los Angeles.” Curtis Hanson directed the 1997 feature adaptation.

“Netflix has landed Ratched, a marquee new drama series from Ryan Murphy, with Sarah Paulson set to star as a younger version of the diabolical Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and the film’s producer Michael Douglas set to executive produce alongside Murphy,” reports Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva.

Also, Chris Pine will play Robert F. Kennedy in Todd E. Kessler’s (The Good Wife) untitled project for Hulu based on Larry Tye’s 2016 biography Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon.

And Antonio Banderas “has been tapped to play Pablo Picasso in the second season of National Geographic’s anthology series Genius.

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