In the Works: Spielberg, Almodóvar, and More

“Almost every Steven Spielberg movie has its antecedent in a TV show, a movie serial or a comic book,” wrote Michael Sragow when he spoke with Spielberg for Rolling Stone in 1981. “The one he feels [Raiders of the Lost Ark] is closest to is Blackhawk—the DC comic (and 1952 Sam Katzman serial) about a valiant Polish fighter pilot bent on avenging his fallen comrades by destroying Nazis.” And now, as Justin Kroll reports for Variety, Spielberg is producing an adaptation with the “intention” of directing. “The screenplay for Blackhawk is being written by David Koepp, who has collaborated with Spielberg as a screenwriter on the blockbusters Jurassic Park,The Lost World: Jurassic Park,War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. . . . Spielberg is currently prepping the fifth Indiana Jones movie, which will be his next project. Production on Blackhawk would not only have to come after that, but also after West Side Story, the film that Spielberg has said he’ll direct following the Indiana Jones movie.”

Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory) will be Pedro Almodóvar’s twenty-first feature, report John Hopewell and Emiliano De Pablos for Variety. Antonio Banderas and Asier Etxeandía lead the cast with Penélope Cruz and Julieta Serrano in supporting roles. “Dolor y Gloria turns on ‘creation, both cinematographic and theatrical, and the difficulty of separating creation from one’s own life,’ Almodovar said. The film recounts ‘a series of meetings, some physical, others remembered decades later, of a film director now in his twilight years,’ Almodovar said. It will encompass ‘the first loves, the second loves, the mother, mortality, an actor with whom the director worked, the ’60s, the ’80s, current times, and the emptiness, a sense of incommensurate emptiness, caused by the inability to go on making films.’”

“MGM has just closed a deal for James Gray to direct I Am Pilgrim, an adaptation of the espionage novel trilogy by Terry Hayes,” reports Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. “Hayes, whose credits include the early Road Warrior films, as well as Dead Calm,Payback, and From Hell, has adapted the novel.” Gray is currently in post-production on Ad Astra, a science fiction project with Brad Pitt.

Also, “John Ridley and Blumhouse Productions have teamed on a movie adaptation of his comic book series The American Way: Those Above and Those Below. The Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave writer and creator/exec producer of the ABC anthology series American Crime is writing to direct a film that uses superheroes to explore timely social issues including race and integration.”

Whether not The House That Jack Built is invited to Cannes, as Zack Sharf reports at IndieWire, Lars von Trier is already mulling over his next project. In “a video interview ahead of receiving Denmark’s cultural award, the Sonning Prize, this week,” he said he “felt terrible” during the making of Jack. “And it’s no one’s fault—it’s my own fault, I was just full of anxieties and alcohol and so on. So this is why I can’t really face making a film, at least not immediately. I’ve thought out a little plan to make some very modest, small films of a duration of ten minutes each, which are called ‘Études,’ where you try something new—narratively, technically or in terms of characters. I plan to make a series of ten small films in black and white, and I was thinking to work with Nordic actors, as there are just so many good ones.”

Nicole Kidman “and her company Blossom Films have partnered with acclaimed producer Lynda Obst (Interstellar) to develop an adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s new novel The Female Persuasion,” reports EW’s David Canfield. “Kidman is attached to star in the lead role, and the plan is to adapt the book into a feature. . . . The novel centers on a shy college freshman named Greer who hopes her life is changed by Faith Frank, a central pillar of the woman’s movement for decades.”

Outside will be the feature directorial debut of Romola Garai (Atonement,Suffragette), reports Andreas Wiseman for Screen, and the cast will feature Imelda Staunton, Carla Juri, and Alex Secareanu. “The contained horror, which is also scripted by Garai, tells of a young male refugee traumatized by war who is brought to a dilapidated house in order to care for a woman and her dying mother. Falling in love with the younger woman he begins to suspect she is enslaved to a demon and resolves to fight the creature and rescue the woman he loves . . . but all is not what it seems.”

Wiseman also reports that Denis Côté’s Ghost Town Anthology is among the films to be featured in the Frontières Buyers Showcase at the Cannes Marché du Film.

“John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, Veep’s Reid Scott and I, Tonya actor Paul Walter Hauser have come aboard the comedy feature Late Night, written by Mindy Kaling, who also stars alongside Emma Thompson,” reports Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka. “Nisha Ganatra is attached to direct the project, which follows a late-night talk show host (Thompson) who is at risk of losing her long-running show right when she hires her first female writer (Kaling), who revitalizes her show and her life.”

“Angela Bassett and Patricia Arquette are in negotiations to star in the feature comedy Otherhood which Cindy Chupack (Modern Family,Sex in the City) is directing for Netflix,” report Deadline’s Anita Busch and Mike Fleming Jr. “The story has been described as a romantic comedy about three Moms who leave their suburban life to reconnect with their estranged sons in NYC.”

A Quiet Place star Noah Jupe will play the young version of Shia LaBeouf in the independent drama Honey Boy,” reports Variety’s Dave McNary. “Lucas Hedges will portray the young-adult version of LaBeouf, while LaBeouf will play his own father. The movie is about a child star attempting to mend his relationship with his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father over the course of a decade.”


Vincenzo Natali (Cube,Splice) will direct and executive produce an adaptation William Gibson’s 2014 novel The Peripheral, which “follows Flynne Fisher, a woman in a near future America in which technology has started to subtly alter society. Flynne discovers a hidden connection to a very different reality—and the dark future of her own.” Daniel Holloway has more at Variety.

Idris Elba will star in the Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie, which “follows Charlie (Elba), a struggling DJ and eternal bachelor, who’s given a final chance at success when he reluctantly becomes a manny to his famous best friend’s problem-child daughter.” Joe Otterson has more for Variety.

Joining the cast of Stranger Things for the third season “are Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline and Jake Busey as Bruce,” reports Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione.

Also . . .

Paul Thomas Anderson was at Coachella this past weekend, shooting Haim, for whom he’s already directed a handful of videos. As Rodrigo Perez points out, in an interview he conducted with PTA last December for the Playlist, the director said, “I love them. It’s great music, they’re super charismatic to film. Everything we do is like a home movie because it’s a very familial type situation.”

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