Now that those six non-productive years came to an end over the summer, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Ruby Sparks, Little Miss Sunshine) are actually keeping pace with the helming game. Next for the married duo will be The Big Cigar, a project that’s landed under the control of Amazing Spider-Man producer, former Columbia Pictures head, and total gentleman Matt Tolmach, who’s not only bought the project himself, but also got these two attached. Based on what we know about this one, I think he’s wise in making such a dogged pursuit.
Joshuah Bearman, author of the article that inspired Argo, is working with Jim Hecht (Ice Age: The Meltdown) on the screenplay for The Big Cigar, which we’d been told of back in October. Instead of focusing on something in tune with the CIA’s valiant efforts to rescue hostages, this true story follows an attempt by producer Burt Schneider (Days of Heaven, The Last Picture Show, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces) to get Black Panther Huey P. Newton out of the U.S. after killing a prostitute and assaulting his tailor. Like Ben Affleck‘s thriller, this shows how a fake movie (titled The Cigar) was concocted to save someone’s skin; the context just happens to make this less easy to cheer on.
But since Dayton and Ferris‘ first two outings have whimsical, playful tones to them, questions do arise about what sort of direction The Big Cigar ends up taking. It’s a story centered on a gritty, hard-to-sympathize-with man and how someone used their money to help him get out of some serious trouble — certainly different territory than Sparks or Sunshine. While a unique take would be interesting for the film, a tonal and stylistic deviation should prove even better for Dayton and Ferris.
Does this strike you as a wise direction for The Big Cigar to be heading in?
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