Whether you think he’s a titan of contemporary art cinema or a moralizing hack, Michael Haneke will dominate much of 2017’s cinematic discourse with his new feature, Happy End. Earlier reports were vague, albeit intriguing, telling us the Isabelle Huppert– and Jean-Louis Trintignant-led picture will concern a “bourgeois, European family, blind to what is going on in the wider world around them,” specifically with regard to Europe’s migrant crisis.
So said Huppert at this year’s Cannes Film Festival:
“‘But you can imagine what a Michael Haneke film called Happy Ending will be like. You can imagine there will be a certain irony, a certain…’ – she hesitates playfully, choosing her words – ‘clear-sightedness. For me, the title says everything about how lucidly Haneke sees the world.’ Apparently it’s about immigration, I hazard. ‘Apparently. That’s not all there is to it. We’ll see.'”
Casting has been well underway for a summer start, and with that comes some updates. Filmuforia tell us writer-director-actor Mathieu Kassovitz has been added to the film as Huppert’s brother and Trintignant’s son; recent César nominee Loubna Abidar (Much Loved) is also coming aboard. La Voix Du Nord now describe Happy End as as “the story of a middle class family in northern France [facing] a number of setbacks.” They also learned this much from casting director David El Hakim: “There will be professional actors and non-professionals. For now, nothing is set yet. Michael Haneke takes time. And he loves secrecy. We are still at work.”
And so several hundred people recently showed up to audition as extras for “to turn in a birthday scene with Jean-Louis Trintignant. The central requirement? “[P]eople had to stand as ‘refined, elegant and friendly.'” If Nord Pas de Calais had their story right, casting was completed this weekend, and Haneke ought to be off very soon. Update: Screen Daily reports production has begun in France.
His former collaborator, Juliette Binoche, will star alongside Camille Cottin and Lambert Wilson in the female-heavy buddy movie Like Mother, Like Daughter for helmer Noémie Saglio, who’s co-writing with Agathe Pastorino. Per Allocine, it concerns “a mother and daughter, with diametrically opposed temperaments, falling pregnant at the same time.”
Gaumont and Flame Films are backing Like Mother, Like Daughter, and cameras roll this summer.
Meanwhile, Haneke favorite Steven Spielberg is moving forward with his next feature, Ready Player One, by making a couple of additions to its ensemble. The video-game-centered adaptation of Ernie Cline‘s best-selling nostalgia trip novel will now feature T.J. Miller as “i-R0k, an annoying troller in the online forums of the game,” as well as Win Morisaki as Daito, a player within the story’s central game, OASIS. [THR and Variety]
Ready Player One also features Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke (Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl), and Simon Pegg, and will open on March 30, 2018.
Further in the blockbuster realm is news that John Boyega will play the son of Idris Elba‘s Stacker Pentecost in Pacific Rim 2, a Steven S. DeKnight-directed production co-written by Guillermo del Toro. DeKnight himself is very excited, if our recent Twitter activity should be any indication — and given how well Boyega handled himself in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this next journey into sci-fi franchising should be welcome for us, too. [Deadline]
Finally, THR informs us Alexandre Aja (Horns, Piranha 3D) has written and will direct The Marquis, an adaptation of Jean Teule‘s Le Montespan that follows “the relationship between the Marquis Louis Henri de Montespan and his wife Athenais, who became the mistress of Louis XIV. At the time, sharing your wife with the monarch was considered a source of prestige for aristocrats, but the Marquis, who was passionately in love with his wife, vowed to get his wife back at all costs.” Do I smell an Albert Serra cinematic universe?
Gaumont and LGM Cinema are supporting The Marquis, which begins production towards the end of this year or the beginning of 2017.