In the Works: Rees, Diop, and More

Dee Rees, whose Mudbound is set to screen at the New York and London film festivals, will direct an adaptation of Joan Didion’s 1996 novel The Last Thing He Wanted, reports Screen’s Jeremy Kay. Says Rees: “It’s an international spy thriller and it gets into the Iran Contra scandal and the atmosphere of the time. It was a period of time where we started to not trust officials and you realize people in charge aren’t telling the truth.”

Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. hears that, following James Cameron, Paul Greengrass, and David Fincher, Denis Villeneuve (Arrival,Blade Runner 2049) is the latest director to seriously consider taking on a project based on Stacy Schiff’s book Cleopatra: A Life.

Also, Julie Taymor will direct “the coming-of-age story of iconic feminist, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem. Playwright Sarah Ruhl will write the script, based on Steinem’s bestselling memoir My Life on the Road.

The Arte France Cinéma selection committee “has chosen to co-produce and pre-purchase three projects,” reports Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa:

  • Olivier Assayas’s E-Book, a comedy starring Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, Juliette Binoche, Nora Hamzawi, and Christa Théret in which “Alain and Léonard, a writer and a publisher, are overwhelmed by the new practices of the publishing world and are deaf to the desires of their wives and struggle to find their place in a society whose code they can no longer crack.”
  • Mati Diop’s debut feature, La prochaine fois, le feu, which “focuses on Ada, 17 years old, and her group of friends, left alone in a district of Dakar deserted by men. They all set sail for a better future. But their makeshift craft is shipwrecked and the women soon face the return of the ghosts of the Atlantic.”
  • Arthur Harari’s Onoda, 10,000 nuits dans la jungle, which “follows Hiroo Onoda, a young Japanese soldier sent to a small Philippine island in 1944, just before Americans troops were due to land. His mission is to lead the guerrillas until the return of the Japanese troops. Refusing to accept that Japan has surrendered, Onoda will only drop his weapons after some 10,000 days.”

“Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot have won the rights to adapt the blockbuster Japanese animated movie Your Name,” reports Variety’s Dave McNary. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival) will adapt Makoto Shinkai’s “story of a teenage boy and girl from different backgrounds who discover they can swap bodies. They become desperate to cross space and time to find a way to meet and stop an impending disaster.”

In the London of the 1960s, “Nova magazine was a must-read,” writes Natalie Wardle for Little White Lies. “Recently described by British journalist Kate Muir as, ‘a politically radical, beautifully designed, intellectual women’s magazine,’ Nova was perhaps a little too ahead of its time, and ceased publication in 1975. Now, however, Kes Glozier, Editor in Chief of The New British, is telling Nova’s largely forgotten story in a guerilla-style documentary. In the age of Trump, its unwavering stance on feminism and non-binary unification rings truer than ever.”

“Michelle Williams is in talks for the female lead in Sony’s Venom opposite Tom Hardy,” reports Jeff Sneider at the Tracking Board. Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) will direct what’s “not being developed as a Spider-Man spinoff, but rather a standalone feature.”

“Jude Law is in negotiations to co-star with Blake Lively in the spy thriller The Rhythm Section from director Reed Morano, and James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli,” reports Variety’s Justin Kroll. This will be a “contemporary adaptation” of the first title in Mark Burnell’s series of four “Stephanie Patrick” novels. In this one, Stephanie Patrick (Lively) discovers that the plane crash that killed her family wasn’t an accident, so naturally, “she becomes an assassin to track down those responsible.”

“Crispin Glover has joined Nina Dobrev, Luke Bracey, and Michael Madsen in Roger Avary’s upcoming feature Lucky Day,” reports Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka. “Glover will play Luc, an utterly psychopathic contract killer who is on a hunt to avenge the death of his brother, accidentally killed by American safe-cracker Red (Bracey) during a job gone wrong.”

And from Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva comes word that “Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res and Bron Studios have acquired the rights to David Cronenberg’s classic 1981 sci-fi thriller feature Scanners to develop as a TV series.”

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