Second Update: Jacob Elordi has joined the cast for Schrader’s new film, now called Oh Canada, both revealed in the director’s Facebook post.
Update: A New Yorker profile confirms Elisabeth Moss will direct and star in Amber Light, the Puerto Rico-set project Schrader discussed last fall, having decided it “wasn’t his story to tell.” Read the original post below.
Enthusiasts of Paul Schrader’s Facebook are well aware he’s moved into a new Hudson Yards spot––I’d suggest this as essential viewing––and it’s subject of a fascinating, deeply moving profile in Curbed anchored around caring for his wife Mary Beth Hurt (try reading the last couple lines and not sighing) and which portrays someone who finds enviable degrees of focus in doing their work. Mentioned therein are a few new projects: no indication of the Puerto Rico-set feature he teased last fall, but word he’ll very soon stage a reunion from his most iconic writing-directing job.
If all goes well, Schrader is directing Richard Gere this summer for the first time since American Gigolo––or, had things had once gone to plan, The Walker––in an adaptation of an unnamed novel by Russell Banks, a personal friend and source for one of his best films, Affliction. Adriane Quinlan, author of the Curbed piece, has confirmed Schrader will adapt Banks’ 2021 novel Foregone, which he hopes to title Oh Canada! and compares to Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. (LA Review of Books noted such resemblance at the time of publication.) Harper Collins’ synopsis would suggest interest for a filmmaker constantly dwelling on their mortality:
At the center of Foregone is famed Canadian American leftist documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders and deserters who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Vietnam. Fife, now in his late seventies, is dying of cancer in Montreal and has agreed to a final interview in which he is determined to bare all his secrets at last, to demythologize his mythologized life. The interview is filmed by his acolyte and ex–star student, Malcolm MacLeod, in the presence of Fife’s wife and alongside Malcolm’s producer, cinematographer, and sound technician, all of whom have long admired Fife but who must now absorb the meaning of his astonishing, dark confession.
Imaginatively structured around Fife’s secret memories and alternating between the experiences of the characters who are filming his confession, the novel challenges our assumptions and understanding about a significant lost chapter in American history and the nature of memory itself.
It’s meanwhile said he’s optioned an untitled, logline-free script for Elisabeth Moss to direct, which would mark a feature debut after dabbling in TV, and had been talking to Antoine Fuqua about helming his project Three Guns at Dawn––somehow not a western (à la his aborted Nine Men from Now) but “follows three brothers — a dirty cop, a serial killer, and a drug dealer — who hate one another.” If we see even one, let alone two or three, we can consider it a verdant time for a tireless American master.