Not losing sight of his directorial ambitions, Mathieu Amalric has set his next behind-the-camera effort — and it already sounds like his most fascinating to date. According to Le Figaro (via Richard Brody), he’ll helm and lead Barbara, a biopic-of-sorts of French singer Monique Serf — also known as, well, Barbara — that breaks apart standard approaches to the genre. Consider this the Irma Vep mold, if early word is accurate: Amalric will play a director hoping to make a biopic about Barbara, while Jeanne Balibar is to co-star as the actress leading the film-within-the-film. Per producer Patrick Godeau, it will thus “retain its freedom and impose a point of view.”
Meanwhile, Deadline has learned that Joe Wright will recover himself post-Pan with something that seems a bit more in his wheelhouse. I speak, obviously, of a film concerning Winston Churchill, which Working Title and screenwriter-producer Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) are throwing their weight behind. Titled Darkest Hour, and supposedly a passion project for the scribe, it’s centered on Churchill’s incredibly stressful first days as England’s Prime Minister — “his decisions, and the actions and immortal speeches in those critical days that defined his place in history and changed the destiny of the world.”
Considering the overlap with the battle / evacuation of Dunkirk — which Wright brought to life in Atonement‘s famed tracking shot — might he and Christopher Nolan be creating a World War II cinematic universe? Probably not, but one man can dream.
Lenny Abrahamson will tackle somewhat similar material with his Room follow-up, a project that might even echo the recent Best Director / Best Picture nominee. Variety report on The Grand Escape, a World War I story concerning “pilots being held in Germany’s most infamous POW camp” and their escape, the war’s greatest. Since the Neal Bascomb-penned book upon which it’s based is still being written, it’s uncertain as to how soon the film might move forward, though Film4 and Element Pictures are set to support it.
And then THR inform us Doug Liman and Amazon Studios have partnered for The Wall, a project that’s coming together as a result of delays on Gambit. His Channing Tatum-led superhero picture’s been moved from an early-2016 shoot to year’s end, and so this — the first screenplay purchased by the still-new studio — now gets his time and effort. Written by Dwain Worrell, its story follows “a sniper and his spotter who are pinned down behind cover by a legendary sniper” — a small-scale narrative endeavor that will begin shooting in a couple of months’ time.