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Lynn Shelton Puts ‘I’m Down’ on Slate; James Ponsoldt Eyes Hillary Clinton Biopic

Written by on April 29, 2013 

Lynn Shelton works quickly and, for the most part, efficiently. Her breakthrough features, Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister, were wellreceived by this site; the ostensible third, yet-to-be-released project, Touchy Feely, was by all means not. Whatever you want to chalk this potential stumble up to, a less-kind reception would not appear to have slowed the writer-director down by any considerable measure, depending on how you take the impressive cast being nabbed for a new picture, Laggies. There are few directors who can work in this mode, much less those of the female stripe.

That the lattermost project is still next and not the only thing on her radar should attest to this point. Speaking to ThePlaylist, Shelton made public the intention to adapt I’m Down, a memoir (from Mishna Wolff) that’s caught her attention and interests. First, read this brief synopsis from Amazon:

“Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. ‘He strutted around with a short perm, a Cosby-esqe sweater, gold chains and a Kangol—telling jokes like Redd Fox, and giving advice like Jesse Jackson. You couldn’t tell my father he was white. Believe me, I tried,’ writes Wolff. And so from early childhood on, her father began his crusade to make his white daughter down.

Unfortunately, Mishna didn’t quite fit in with the neighborhood kids: she couldn’t dance, she couldn’t sing, she couldn’t double Dutch and she was the worst player on her all-black basketball team. She was shy, uncool, and painfully white. And yet when she was suddenly sent to a rich white school, she found she was too ‘black’ to fit in with her white classmates.”

As is explained to the outlet, shared Seattle roots give Wolff‘s tale something of a personal touch for Shelton, along with her own experience dealing with the troubled racial-social dynamics that existed within the city in decades past. Because she more or less expects to film I’m Down after Laggies, the fast-moving writer-director could have it out in only a couple of years, realistically speaking. Anne Carey (The American, Adventureland) is to produce.

Her Sundance compatriot (of sorts), James Ponsoldt, is keeping up his slightly insane pattern of adding projects by, in a surprising move, signing to direct what TheWrap tell us is early-era Hillary Clinton biopic. Titled Rodham and taken from a Black List script by Young Il Kim, it’s an endeavor that chronicles the First Lady’s jump into Presidential politics: she found herself the House Judiciary Committee to Impeach Nixon’s youngest attorney, at this time conflicted about where life should be taking her. (Significantly, an ex-boyfriend named William was still on her mind.)

Temple Hill Entertainment (Twilight) and Arlook Group, in producing, have made the acquisition of an actress their top priority at the moment; Kim‘s screenplay has been attracting “[s]everal top actresses” for an “award-worthy role,” so expect names to circle. Should they be attached, I’d also expect that Ponsoldt‘s pending directorial duties are put on hold in favor of Rodham — comments of “early stages” or not.

In the meantime, Ponsoldt‘s The Spectacular Now, one of our favorite Sundance titles, will open on August 2.

Do Shelton and Ponsoldt appear to be making good moves for themselves?

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