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Sam Mendes Seeks ‘Chesil Beach’ With Carey Mulligan

Written by on June 2, 2010 

It’s been a rollercoaster 12 months for Sam Mendes. Alright, a rollercoaster 18 months. Revolutionary Road, his best film to date, was received to lukewarm, cautious reviews and then, six short months later, his comedic change of pace, Away We Go, failed at the box office and did little more than earn a small core of loyal indie enthusiasts. His marriage to the ever-beautiful, ever-talented Kate Winslet ended and his moment as a studio director (James Bond 23) burned along with MGM.

So it feels only appropriate that Mendes’ next potential project is an adaptation of a novel by Ian McEwan (Atonement), a British writer whose prose is so honest, so brutal and so penetrating that it’s hard to know if you’re crying because of the diction or the content. Or both.

On Chesil Beach, McEwan’s 2007 novel, explores the psyche of two newlywed virgins and their apprehensiveness about sticking things into other things and how well they’ll both do whatever it is they’re supposed to do. The novel is based on McEwan’s wonderful short story of the same name, featured in The New Yorker in late 2006.

Mendes is adapting the book for the screen while he and his people attempt to woo Ms. Mulligan for the lead in the small Focus Features-produced film. [Deadline Hollywood]

This little project is planned to be filmed before Mendes takes on the task of directing the 2011 Broadway musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The show will actually premiere during the 2011 holiday season in London and then move to Broadway.

It’s good that Focus is willing to stand behind Mendes despite Away We Go‘s lack of success. McEwan’s source material has helped make Joe Wright’s Atonement into something of an anti-Oscar masterpiece, and not a bad long-term investment.

Chesil Beach is smaller fare, but just as palpable and with Mulligan at the helm, heads will turn.

Do you like Mendes’ films? Do you think he’s overrated?

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