In the Works: Safdies, Gondry, and More

On Film / The Daily — Dec 27, 2017

It’s been a while since we gathered news of projects in the works, but even as announcements started thinning as the holidays approached, a few of them are well worth noting in a quick roundup here. For example, Josh and Benny Safdie are taking on a remake of Walter Hill’s 48 Hrs. (1982). The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit: “As with Good Time, Josh Safdie will handle script duties on top of directing and will co-write the script with Ronald Bronstein, who co-wrote Good Time. New to the equation will be Jerrod Carmichael, the comedian who starred on and co-created the NBC comedy The Carmichael Show.

On Instagram, Juliette Binoche has posted a shot of herself, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, Nora Hamzawi, and director Olivier Assayas as they wrap shooting on Ebook. In September, Assayas told Christopher Small in the Notebook that “it’s actually a very simple screenplay, it’s a series of conversations. It’s in French, shot in Paris. As simple as it gets. . . . It’s more about how we adapt or don’t adapt to how the world is changing. And it’s about how ebooks are changing or not changing the publishing world. It’s basically about how each character adapts to how the world around him is evolving.”

Nathaniel Dorsky’s announced that Epilogue, the seventh and final film in his Arboretum Cycle, “a descent into the dark damp earth, a period of dying,” will see its world premiere at Duke University in February. Dorsky will be there to present the entire seven-film cycle shot in the San Francisco Arboretum during 2017.

“In September 2014, veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader was livid,” writes IndieWire’s Eric Kohn. “He had recently directed Dying of the Light, a grim thriller starring Nicolas Cage as CIA agent Evan Lake, who obsesses over tracking terrorists while suffering from a brain disease and losing his mind.” But the financial backers “took the movie away.” Now, “Schrader has found a wild, unprecedented workaround to make the movie he intended all along—but it will almost certainly never screen in theaters. Now titled Dark, the new version has been literally assembled out of fragments ripped from the mangled theatrical cut, and transformed into a kind of post-modern collage.” Which Schrader is “legally barred from releasing . . . In order to watch it, you’ll have to go to the UCLA film archives or to the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin, which also has his papers: Both institutions have digital files of Dark, and they are available to anyone.”

The Playlist’s Kevin Jagernauth points us to Aaron Couch’s interview with David Scarpa for the Hollywood Reporter in which the screenwriter talks a bit about Cleopatra, a project he’s writing for Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) to direct. And “instead of doing the movie as the prestige picture—the three-hour, lots of pageantry, people with fans and English accents and all that stuff—[we] really treat it as a political thriller. Dirty, bloody, lots of people swearing and having sex and all of that other stuff and just treat it as a two-hour, lean, mean political thriller, full of assassinations, etc.

Zac Efron has joined Matthew McConaughey, Isla Fisher, Jimmy Buffet, and Snoop Dogg in Harmony Korine’s “stoner comedy,” The Beach Bum, reports Zack Sharf at IndieWire.

RZA will direct Terrence Howard, Wesley Snipes, Eiza González, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Demetrius Shipp Jr., and Shameik Moore in the “post-Katrina heist drama,” Cut Throat City, reports Amanda N’Duka at Deadline.

Series

Catherine Keener is joining Jim Carrey in Kidding, a half-hour comedy Michel Gondry will direct for Showtime, reports Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva. Carrey will play Mr. Pickles, “an icon of children’s television . . . who also anchors a multimillion dollar branding empire. But when this beloved personality’s family . . . begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairy tale or fable or puppet will guide him through this crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope.” Keener will play Deirdre, “who thanklessly builds all the puppets on the hit children’s show.”

Matt Charman, who co-wrote Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies with Joel and Ethan Coen, will write an eight-part mini-series delving into the Watergate scandal, reports Variety’s Joe Otterson. George Clooney—who’s attached to direct and star in a limited series adaptation of Catch-22—and Grant Heslov will executive produce.

Otterson also reports that Michael Peña and Diego Luna will star in the fourth season of the Netflix series Narcos.

And from Variety’s Stewart Clarke: “Matthew Rhys has made a pilot of British comedy drama series Down the Caravan, which sees The Americans star play a philandering and soon-to-be-dead caravan site owner in Wales.”

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