In the Works: Haneke, Haynes, and More

We begin with the series today, because Michael Haneke has just signed on to direct his first one, Kelvin’s Book. Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva tells us that the “English language, ten-part, high concept series is set in a dystopian world and will tell the adventurous story of a group of young people in a not too distant future. During a flight, they are forced to make an emergency landing outside of their home and are confronted with the actual face of their home country for the first time.”

William Oldroyd (Lady Macbeth) will likely direct Chimerica, an adaptation of Lucy Kirkwood’s play as a four-part series. Deadline’s Peter White: “Chimerica starts in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 as young American photojournalist captures a piece of history as tanks roll through Beijing and soldiers hammer on his hotel door. Twenty years later, he is covering a presidential election, marred by debate over cheap labor and the outsourcing of American jobs to Chinese factories. He subsequently becomes obsessed with a cryptic message left in a Chinese newspaper and journeys to discover who the man was in the photo.”

Nonfiction Features

Todd Haynes has firmed up plans to make his first documentary, one with the straightforward title The Velvet Underground, reports Deadline’s Dino-Ray Ramos. The idea is to “trace multiple threads leading to the band’s formation and their impact on music and global culture.”

In his fifth feature, Nocturne, documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi (Fire at Sea) will “explore the borders of the Middle East under cover of night in order to meet various characters in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and perhaps even Egypt,” reports Fabien Lemercier for Cineuropa.

Fiction Features

Casting director Cindy Tolan has issued a call to young actors who can sing and dance. Seems like the West Side Story revamp is on. The writer: Tony Kushner. And the director? Steven Spielberg.

Natalie Portman is joining Jude Law in Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, taking the role that once had Rooney Mara attached, reports Variety’s Brent Lang. “According to the log line: Vox Lux follows the rise of ‘Celeste’ from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop superstardom. The film spans fifteen years and traces important cultural moments through the singer’s eye, starting in 1999 and ending in the present day.” Corbet “made his feature film directorial debut in 2015 with The Childhood of a Leader, a kind of portrait of a fascist as a very young man that won two awards at the Venice Film Festival.”

Legendary producer Clive Davis announced on Saturday that Aretha Franklin had personally selected Jennifer Hudson to play her in a forthcoming as-yet-untitled biopic, reports Variety’s Dave McNary.

In 2013, Stephen King wrote Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining that focuses on an adult Danny Torrance. As Zack Sharf reports for IndieWire, Mike Flanagan will re-write Akiva Goldsman’s screenplay and direct the adaptation. “Flanagan most recently was the director behind Netflix’s Stephen King adaptation of Gerald’s Game. He has become a favorite among horror movie lovers thanks to critical favorites such as Hush and Oculus. He’s also working with Netflix on a ten-episode adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House.

Emily V. Gordon, who co-wrote The Big Sick with Kumail Nanjiani, will write an adaptation of Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest.Mia Galuppo’s got a quick summary in the Hollywood Reporter: “After years of simmering tensions that finally reach a boiling point, Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, whose actions have endangered the family trust fund.”

Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree) will direct Ben Kingsley and Monica Bellucci in Spider in the Web, “a counter-espionage thriller,” reports Stewart Clarke for Variety.

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