Following up his most ambitious film yet, the glorious space opera Ad Astra, James Gray is setting his sights a bit smaller for his next film. Armageddon Time is inspired by his mid-80s upbringing in Queens’ Kew-Forest School, and also involves its principal as well as board member Fred Trump. Led by Robert De Niro, Cate Blanchett, Donald Sutherland, Oscar Isaac, and Anne Hathaway, the director said last summer that The 400 Blows and Amarcord were key influences on the project.
Now, he’s revealed an intriguing role for one of his actors. “Cate Blanchett is going to play Donald Trump’s sister which is the weirdest sentence I have ever said,” Gray revealed in Qumra event (via Screen Daily). “She’s only in it for three days, she’s doing me a favor. She has a really long speech to deliver, it’s a real scene-stealer. I’ve tried to recreate the real speech as best I could from memory.”
The speech he’s referencing is one that Maryanne Trump Barry made when Gray was attending the school. As far as when we can see the project, don’t expect it until 2022 as he’s now eying a fall start. “Let’s face it, vaccination has got to get more widespread. The US wasn’t doing so well but it looks like we’ve got our heads out of our asses, a lot of people have been vaccinated, including me by the way. I’m ready to go and shoot this thing.”
For more from James Gray, check out his conversation with Test Pattern director Shatara Michelle Ford, who joined our latest Cinephile Game Night.