It’s been a month since the last round on notable projects in the works, and as we open this one, we’re catching up with Bong Joon Ho. Early last year, a little over two weeks before Parasite won four Oscars, including best picture, Bong told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman that he was talking with HBO and Adam McKay, the team behind Succession, about turning his comedic thriller into a limited series. Those talks went well, and last month, McKay told MTV’s Josh Horowitz that he had “basically outlined the series with director Bong during the quarantine, with him overseeing.” The series will take place “in the same universe as the feature, but it’s an original story that lives in that same world.”
Bong announced last week that he’s also been working on two features he aims to direct. He’s currently writing the screenplay for a story set in the U.S. and the UK, his first feature in English. And he’s teaming up with 4th Creative Party, the Korean VFX studio that has worked with Bong on Mother (2009), Snowpiercer (2013), and Okja (2017), on an animated film centered on a conflict between deep sea creatures and humans. At the moment, that’s about all we know about both projects.
We know much more about Crimes of the Future, David Cronenberg’s first feature since Maps to the Stars (2014) and his first work of straight-up science fiction since eXistenZ (1999). “I have unfinished business with the future,” he said, announcing the film he intends to start shooting in Athens this summer. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart, Crimes centers on Saul Tenser, a performance artist making the most of “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome,” a new phase of human development altering people’s biological makeup.
Rian Johnson will also be heading to Greece this summer to begin production on what everyone for the time being is calling simply Knives Out 2. Daniel Craig returns as southern private investigator Benoit Blanc, and so far, it’s been announced that he’ll be joined by Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe, and Edward Norton.
Sets for Wes Anderson’s next film are currently being built in Chinchón, a small town about thirty miles southeast of Madrid. At the Film Stage, Jordan Raup flags a report in El Pais that tells us that no one knows anything more about the project other than that Anderson will begin shooting almost immediately after the premiere of The French Dispatch in Cannes in July and will carry on into September.
Serge Bozon (Mrs. Hyde) is currently directing Virginie Efira, whom we’ll soon see in Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, and Tahir Rahim (The Mauritanian) in Don Juan, a musical about an actor on a hedonist binge and rehearsing to star in a production of Molière’s 1665 play Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre.
Women at Work
Thuso Mbedu, who stars in Barry Jenkins’s The Underground Railroad, is joining Viola Davis in The Woman King, the story of a general who leads an all-female military unit in the precolonial African kingdom of Dahomey. The film, inspired by true events, will be directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball,The Old Guard).
Alice Diop, whose documentary We won the Encounters Award at this year’s Berlinale, will begin shooting her first fiction feature, Saint-Omer, in just a few days. Novelist and playwright Marie NDiaye, who cowrote White Material (2009) with Claire Denis, has been working with Diop and her editor, Amrita David, on the screenplay loosely based on the real-life trial of a woman accused of killing her fifteen-month-old daughter. Rama, a novelist in her thirties, attends the trial, looking for inspiration for a contemporary retelling of the story of Medea. But the trial takes an unexpected turn.
In 1958, Swiss playwright and novelist Max Frisch met Austrian poet and writer Ingeborg Bachmann, fifteen years his junior, and the ensuing intense but rocky affair lasted for five years. Frisch wrote indirectly about their time together in his 1964 novel A Wilderness of Mirrors, and in 1971, Bachmann published her response, her only completed novel, Malina, which was adapted for the screen twenty years later by Elfriede Jelinek for Werner Schroeter, who directed Isabelle Huppert. Now Margarethe von Trotta has cast Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) and Ronald Zehrfeld (Phoenix) in Bachmann & Frisch and plans to start shooting in October.
We’ll soon be seeing quite a lot of Krieps, notes critic and programer Boyd van Hoeij. She stars alongside Tim Roth and Mia Wasikowska in Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island, which will likely premiere in Cannes. She’ll play Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known to Romy Schneider fans as Sissi, in Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage. And she’ll costar with Gaspard Ulliel and Liv Ullmann in Emily Atef’s Plus que jamais (More Than Ever), playing a terminally ill woman who decides to spend her last days in Norway.
Since winning an award for best screenplay in Cannes for Happy as Lazzaro (2018), Alice Rohrwacher has been making short films, and one of them, Four Roads, has just premiered on MUBI. She’s now set up her next feature, La chimera, a story about archeological looting in Tuscany, and is currently in postproduction on Futura, a documentary about how young Italians see their future that she’s made with Pietro Marcello (Martin Eden) and Francesco Munzi (Black Souls).
Marcello, in the meantime, seems to have two projects in the works at the moment. The Flight, starring Louis Garrel and Noémie Lvovsky, will be loosely based on Aleksandr Grin’s 1923 novel Scarlet Sails, while The Betrothed will be the sixth adaptation of Alessandro Manzoni’s popular 1827 novel about young lovers in Lombardy in the 1620s.
Emma Donoghue—who adapted her 2010 novel, Room, for the screen—is now working on a screenplay based on her 2016 novel, The Wonder. It’s the story of an English nurse called to the Irish Midlands in 1859 to observe a miracle, an eleven-year-old who has survived for months without eating. Sebastián Lelio (Gloria,A Fantastic Woman) will direct, and Florence Pugh (Midsommar) will star.
Night of Camp David, Fletcher Knebel’s 1965 political thriller about a president losing his mind, was rereleased in 2018, two years into the Trump administration. Now Paul Greengrass is set to direct and coproduce the adaptation. And renowned British theater director Carrie Cracknell will make her feature directorial debut with Persuasion, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s final novel starring Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot.
And . . . Action!
Before breaking through to global audiences in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and then winning accolades for his lead performance in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe episode Red, White, and Blue, John Boyega landed his first film role in Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block. Boyega and Cornish are now reteaming for a sequel to that 2011 film, which Roger Ebert called “an entertaining thriller in the tradition of 1970s B-action films.”
Regina King will follow up on her directorial debut, One Night in Miami, with Bitter Root, the story of a family of monster hunters in New York in the 1920s based on the series of comics by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene. For generations, the Sangeryes have captured and cured souls infected by racism and hatred, but now, with their own numbers dwindling, they argue over whether to save or kill them.
George A. Romero, who essentially redefined our idea of what a zombie is and launched a franchise with Night of the Living Dead (1968), was quietly working on a final chapter, Twilight of the Dead, when he died in 2017. His widow, Suzanne Romero, has been developing the script with three screenwriters and has announced that she’s ready to talk with directors about realizing the project.
With The Kingdom Exodus, a series of five hour-long episodes, Lars Von Trier and cowriter Niels Vørsel will address some of the questions raised by the first two seasons of the Danish miniseries that ran in 1994 and 1997. Several of the original cast members are back, too, and shooting is expected to roll on through the end of the summer.
And finally for now, Peter Kosminsky, who directed Mark Rylance in Wolf Hall, the 2015 series adaptation of two novels by Hilary Mantel, has been researching his next series, The Undeclared War, for three years. Rylance and Simon Pegg will play members of a team of analysts working to ward off a cyberattack in the run-up to the 2024 British elections.
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