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James McTeigue Directing ‘Ness/Capone’

Written by on September 8, 2011 

A problem that a director will often face when taking historical figures and transplanting them to film is dealing with the work that other filmmakers have done with the same people. If they made their mark before, your film will be compared to theirs; this happens all the time, much to the frustration of those working on these projects.

Such is the challenge that James McTeigue will face with Ness/Capone, an upcoming drama that Deadline says he’ll be helming. The point of comparison here is Brian De Palma‘s The Untouchables, which starred Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness and Robert De Niro as Al Capone. Although The Untouchables is not a great film, the image of these two men on opposite sides of the law is, for many, linked to it entirely.

This could stand on its own, though, as it sounds like it’ll take things in a different direction. Deadline claims that the script by Grant Pierce Myers (which appeared on last year’s Black List) will portray Ness in a less flattering light than we normally see him, since he’ll be “a skirt-chasing 26-year-old publicity hound who seemed to get an adrenaline charge out of courting danger,” among other things. I don’t have a problem with this, if only because it should help it stand out from past depictions of him as a saint of law and order.

What I really want to know is what this will do for Cicero, the planned trilogy centered on Al Capone that has Tom Hardy attached to star and David Yates in line to direct. That’s something that I would actually be much more interested in, if only for the people and scope behind it. Another thorn in its side is the fact that Yates has The Stand occupying the next few years of his life; could it die out? Let’s hope not.

When McTeigue actually get around to the production of this is a question, since he’s currently casting Message from the King, a thriller that follows a man searching for his sister in Los Angeles. With a script is by Unknown writers Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell, that’s expected to be his next film. Still, as someone who was a big fan of V for Vendetta, I guess I’m in the James McTeigue camp, if there is such a thing. (I haven’t actually seen Ninja Assassin; from what I understand, that could change things.) I also love a good gangster story, particularly when they’re period-based, so I’ll be interested to see where this goes.

Do you like McTeigiue’s directorial work? Is this an interesting project for him to take on?

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