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Paul Greengrass Looks Toward ‘1984’; Mel Gibson Seeks Directorial Comeback with Andrew Garfield-Led WWII Film

Written by on November 20, 2014 

paul greengrass 1984

Although a return to what made him bankable should close off the next two years, Paul Greengrass isn’t taking one job as some reason to lay low. Deadline tell us the helmer, not so long after signing for a Cold War-era thriller, has become attached to a film version of George Orwell’s 1984 (Nineteen Eighty-Four to the sticklers) — in some ways, the most natural progression from his politically motivated thrillers into the realm of high-concept genre work.

That details on the production are a bit scant — Scott Rudin and Gina Rosenblum will produce; playwright James Graham is scripting — matters little when the actual text is among the better-known of 20th-century literature. It’s less a question of “what” and “if” than it is “how” — how you compress, how you stay faithful, and how you make Orwell’s narrative relevant without catering to thinly veiled allusions. Which might also raise the question of “why.”

mel-gibson-01More surprising is the announcement that Mel Gibson has another project on tap, and one that’s likely to earn some considerable attention: THR inform us he’s looking to direct Andrew Garfield in a World War II picture titled Hacksaw Ridge. If things come together, the temporarily-freed-from-spandex actor would portray Private First Class Desmond Doss, who holds the distinction of being the first soldier to win the Medal of Honor as a conscientious objector. (This is someone who, for personal reasons, claims they have no requirement to provide military service. Being a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Doss refused to so much as hold a gun, which led to his taking a position as a medic.)

His incredible actions — attending to 75 fellow soldiers (who often mocked him for a refusal to fight) in the midst of the Battle of Okinawa — are the stuff “inspiring” movies and award campaigns are made of. It’s thus no surprise that things have been whirring on this one for 13 years, nor that a down-and-out artist like Gibson would gravitate toward it. (Perhaps helping matters further is the former attachment of Randall Wallace, a frequent collaborator.) Regardless of anything else, a strong visual stylist with real strength for orchestrating chaotically violent battle seems just about right. Cross Creek, David Permut, and Bill Mechanic are producing with a script from Robert Schenkkan, and production is expected to commence next year.

Finally, Jason Reitman, hot off two spectacular failures, is looking to go a bit more commercial with I Would Only Rob Banks for My Family. Scripted by Nick Hornby (Wild, An Education) and based on Skip Hollandsworth‘s Texas Monthly profile, it follows Scott Catt, a Texas man who — with his son Hayden and daughter Abby — took to robbing banks. Ivan Reitman will produce for Fox Searchlight. [THR]

Do any of the developing projects strike your interests?


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