In the Works: Del Toro, Guadagnino, and More

Guillermo del Toro will co-write (with Kim Morgan), direct, and produce a remake of Edmund Goulding’s Nightmare Alley (1947; image above), reports Variety’s Justin Kroll, noting that the original “starred Tyrone Power as an ambitious young con-man who hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more corrupt than he is. At first, they enjoy success fleecing people with their mentalist act, but then she turns the table on him, out-manipulating the manipulator.”

Before he takes on this project, though, del Toro will produce The Antlers, to be directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart,Hostiles). This’ll be about “a young teacher who discovers that her troubled student’s father and younger brother harbor a deadly supernatural secret. Taking the boy into her care, the teacher must fight for their survival against horrors beyond imagination.”

Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) will direct Jennifer Lawrence in Burial Rites, reports Variety’s Brent Lang. “The film draws on Hannah Kent’s 2013 novel of the same name, and centers on Agnes Magnusdottir (Lawrence), the last woman to be publicly executed in Iceland in 1830. Agnes was sentenced to death for killing two men and setting fire to their home. The story takes place as Agnes awaits confirmation of her death sentence by the high court, a period of time that finds her reluctantly forging emotional and romantic bonds, while reflecting on her supposed crimes.”

Meantime, as Camillo De Marco notes at Cineuropa, “Guadagnino is busy planning the release of his remake of the cult film Suspiria with Amazon Studios, while also simultaneously working on yet another project, Rio, a thriller with an all-star cast," including Jake Gyllenhaal, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Michelle Williams. “It tells the story of a financial journalist (Gyllenhaal) who goes to Rio de Janeiro to meet up with an old well-off friend (Cumberbatch), but quickly becomes embroiled in a plot to hide the death of a friend. Rio is currently in pre-production, with filming set to commence in early 2018.”

Back to Justin Kroll. Steven Caple Jr. will direct Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in Creed 2, “with production expected to start in spring 2018.” Ryan Coogler, “who directed Creed [2015], is expected to join in an executive producer role . . . The upcoming installment follows Adonis Creed (Jordan)’s life inside and outside of the ring as he deals with new-found fame, issues with his family, and his continuing quest to become a champion. . . . Caple recently wrote HBO’s high-profile Emmett Till project, produced by Will Smith and Jay-Z.”

Also, Jim Broadbent and Harry Collett are joining Robert Downey, Jr. in The Voyage of Doctor Doolittle with Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) directing.

And Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) “is set to star opposite Mackenzie Davis in Amblin’s haunted house film The Turning. Floria Sigismondi is on board to direct.”

Seth Rogen will play Walter Cronkite in David Gordon Green’s Newsflash, which takes place on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. Ben Jacoby has “scripted a drama that revolves around Cronkite, his producer Don Hewitt, their boss Jim Aubrey, and Dan Rather, a young news man who happened to be in Texas and who first distinguished himself as a dogged reporter as he and other journalists frantically dug for truth after reports went over the wire that gunfire rang out in vicinity of the president’s motorcade. The filmmakers are drawing a strong cast—I’ve heard they are courting Mark Ruffalo for Hewitt, and Bryan Cranston for Aubrey—but right now Rogen and Green are the only ones committed.”

Downton Abbey actress Cara Theobold and Game of Thrones actor Gethin Anthony have wrapped filming France-set romantic drama Around the Sun,” reports Tom Grater for Screen. “Shot on location at a 17th century chateau in Normandy, France, the film is inspired by a work from French author Bernard de Fontenelle titled Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds.” The director and producer is Oliver Krimpas and the writer is—full disclosure—my friend Jonathan Kiefer.


Not only is Big Little Lies returning with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, but Andrea Arnold will direct all seven episodes of the second season. “According to the HBO press release, most of the cast is expected to return and contract negotiations are underway,” reports Maria Elena Fernandez for Vulture. “Veteran TV writer-producer David E. Kelley will write the entire season based on a story created by Liane Moriarty, the author of the novel Big Little Lies. Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed the first season, will retain his role as an executive producer.”

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