While the likes of Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg have had a relatively easier time finding the resources to get their films realized, not all the New Hollywood directors have had similar luck. William Friedkin, who hasn’t made a narrative film since 2011’s Killer Joe, is finally looking to return to the director’s chair with a new project.
Friedkin will direct Kiefer Sutherland in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, based on a script dating back a half-a-century ago by Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk. The drama, which was adapted into a 1954 film starring Humphrey Bogart as well as a Robert Altman television picture in 1988, follows “a naval officer who stands trial for mutiny for taking command from a ship captain he feels is acting in unstable fashion, endangering both the ship and its crew.”
“I’ve looked at a lot of scripts in the last ten years, and I haven’t seen anything I really wanted to do,” Friedkin tells Deadline. “But I think about it, a lot and it, it occurred to me that could be a very timely and important piece, as well as being great drama. The Caine Mutiny Court Martial is one of the best court martial dramas ever written.”
“There never was a mutiny in the United States Navy. Herman Wouk virtually created the first and only mutiny in the United States military. His dialogue is terrific, right to the point,” said Friedkin, who updated the setting from WWII to make it contemporary, featuring Gulf of Hormuz and the Straits of Hormuz, leading to Iran. “It’s set at a trial, but it’s all really by the book, in terms of accuracy. But there never was a mutiny in the United States military. He invented it and all that would take place around it, based on the laws that cover it.”
With a January shoot getting underway, we could see a festival premiere by the end of 2023. As we await more details, watch a recent conversation with Friedkin on The French Connection.