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Michael Gracey Directing Hugh Jackman In ‘The Greatest Showman on Earth’; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Will Helm ‘The Revenant’

Written by on August 17, 2011 

Landing the job of director on Disney’s The Order of the Seven (that’s a Snow White movie, if you don’t know) has been paying off for Michael Gracey. He’s never actually directed a feature, but Variety says that he’s just picked up another film to helm, The Greatest Showman on Earth. A musical biopic of P.T. Barnum that has Hugh Jackman attached to star (as well as producing), it’s written by Jenny Bickman and tells of his time as a showman, how he invented the three-ring circus, as well as “his infatuation with Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind.”

Despite this big movement, the project isn’t something that we’ll be seeing for a little while, due to the busy schedules of Jackman — which includes The Wolverine and Les Miserables — and Gracey, who is scheduled to begin shooting Order next year. The problem with this news is that Gracey can’t be judged as a directorial talent yet, so I can’t get excited or annoyed by him being hired. But I do like Jackman quite a hit, and his skill for singing, dancing, and acting makes him something of a showman already; that’s one pick that I know for sure makes sense.

Another film that’s just landed a director is the Akiva Goldsman-produced The Revenant, which TheWrap tells us will be helmed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Based on the novel by Michael Punke and written by Mark L. Smith, it’s described as being a “foreboding, character-driven” tale, something that the filmmaker has made his name with in movies like Babel and Amores Perros . The story follows an injured fur trapper who’s robbed by two men after he can’t be brought back to civilization; after being left for dead, he escapes the wilderness and goes to find revenge.

With the knowledge of the source material and Warner Bros. being the distributors I’d guess that this will probably be Iñárritu‘s first wholly English-language film since 21 Grams. That’s all I feel safe in saying, because despite containing some themes that he’s worked on throughout his career, it’s also like nothing he’s done before. After the almost entirely disinterested reaction that most had to Biutiful, that might not be such a bad thing. We just need to see how he handles the Western genre. No matter what, expect it to have a filtered, saturated look, while also being insurmountably depressing.

Here’s a synopsis of the novel from Amazon:

Based on the real life of fur trapper Hugh Glass, The Revenant recounts the toll of envy and betrayal, and the power of obsession and vengeance. Punke’s novel opens in 1823, when thirty-six-year-old Hugh Glass joins the Rocky Mountain Fur Co. on a venture into perilous, unexplored territory. After being savagely mauled by a grizzly bear, his nearly lifeless body is left in the care of two volunteers from the company—John Fitzgerald, a ruthless mercenary, and young Jim Bridger, the future “King of the Mountain Men.” When Indians approach their camp, Fitzgerald and Bridger abandon Glass. Worse yet, they rob the wounded man of his weapons and tools—the very things that might have given him a chance on his own. Deserted, defenseless, and furious, Glass vows his survival. And his revenge.

Do you want to see a new director like Gracey handle Showman? Is the Western something you think Iñárritu can handle?

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