If you really think about the way things have shaken out, the going’s been a little rough for Dustin Lance Black. After an Oscar win on Milk, the screenwriter took his talents to (and, if word is accurate, made us question them with) a directing debut, Virginia, and then went on to script Clint Eastwood‘s leaden, quickly-forgotten J. Edgar. With just two duds, the 3-part name almost became something of a warning sign.
But I’m not going to give up on the guy, so a recent talk with ThePlaylist — wherein he discussed future projects, both on the page and behind the camera — brings news of a few things I can grant my attention. First, and most prominently, Black said that he’s currently writing (and plans to direct) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, his adaptation of Jennifer E. Smith‘s young romance novel.
It seems as though Milk producer Bruna Papandrea is working on the film — she brought it to his attention, after all — which centers on two teenagers, Hadley and Oliver, who have a minor romantic tryst on a flight to London; the former is going to her father’s wedding, while the latter is simply going home, but the both are bound to fall in love. The helmer claims it “needs a lot of work to come to the screen,” some of which is already being mapped out in the form of casting that Black doesn’t “want to ruin.” Paging Craig Roberts.
There’s also the matter of 3 Story, a comic book film (yes, really) that’s been set up with Warner Bros. for almost two years now. That revolves around Craig Pressgang, a man who finds himself growing to be three stories tall and, ultimately, creates a huge effect on the three most important women in the man’s life — his mother, daughter, and wife, all of whom provide different perspectives throughout. This is, needless to say, different territory for Black, which is why he’s been seeking advice from Roland Emmerich and Bryan Singer about the processes involved with utilizing CGI, while producer Laurence Mark is trying to help him make sense of “the more whimsical aspects of the story.” Because, of course, there isn’t much in the way of historical documents to examine here.
Then there’s a couple of screenwriting jobs to be found — the most prominent of which is Ron Howard‘s Mormon fanatic-centered Under the Banner of Heaven, a project he claims to be “spending all my time on that right now.” (I think there’s something really good to be mined from the Jon Krakauer they’re working with, so count me as interested.) We can also anticipate The Barefoot Bandit — which David Gordon Green was once attached to direct — a film he promises will not only be sympathetic to the thief, but also “cinematic and moving,” and, finally, something “big” cooking over at Universal. He can’t talk about it, but our eyes and ears will be on that project when the time comes.
Do these projects make Black’s future look brighter than the past couple of years?
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