It’s no secret that undervalued writer-director James Gray is beloved much more in France than he is here in the United States. Prior to The Immigrant — Gray’s new film, soon premiering at Cannes — the director’s body of work consisted solely of four feature films (ranging from 1994’s Little Odessa to 2009’s Two Lovers) made over the course of fourteen years, which perhaps accounts for the difficulty he’s had achieving a consensus with both critics and audiences in America.

Gray’s response, it seems, is to amp-up his productivity. In addition to The Immigrant, Gray has a second film at Cannes this year: Blood Ties, which he co-wrote with director Guillaume Canet (Tell No One, Little White Lies). A crime story set in Brooklyn during the 1970s, the film is in Gray’s wheelhouse, subject-wise, and the star-studded cast of Clive Owen, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard (Canet’s wife), and James Caan (phenomenal in Gray’s The Yards) could ignite some major crossover appeal.

On top of this comes today’s Deadline report, wherein it’s stated that Gray is already lining up his next feature — an unexpected step for someone who’s worked so deliberately in the past. The project is currently untitled, and details are pretty scant at this point — in another sign of stepping outside the bounds, Deadline call it a sci-fi thriller — but we do know that Gray co-wrote the film with Fringe writer Ethan Gross. (Lest you raise your eyebrows at the thought of Gray working with a TV writer, Gross has previously been credited with “special thanks” on both The Yards and Two Lovers, so it’s safe to assume the two work well together.)

This untitled effort will be produced by the Brazil-based RT Features, a company with two interesting 2013 titles under their belt: Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha, which opens in limited release this weekend, and Kelly Reichardt‘s forthcoming Night Moves, which perhaps represents another esoteric auteur’s attempt to crack the mainstream. As with Reichardt, here’s hoping Gray’s increased output results in the best of both worlds: the maintaining of peak artistic quality and boosted support from critics & audiences.

In the meantime, see a Marion Cotillard– and Jeremy Renner-starring clip from The Immigrant below (via ThePlaylist):

What is your reaction to seeing Gray announce his Immigrant follow-up so quickly? Any thoughts on the potential genre jump?

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