One of the most pleasant surprises of the year turned out to be the British thriller "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed," about the twists and turns following the kidnapping of an heiress. While the plot reversals occasionally got a little far-fetched, it was enjoyably nasty, featured three strong performances from Gemma Arterton, Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston, and first-time helmer J Blakeson displayed a sure directorial hand, despite only having one letter as a first name.
It was clear that Blakeson was set for a Christopher Nolan-style career path, moving from low-budget indie thriller to bigger-scale films, but, like fellow Brit Rupert Wyatt, who went straight from the excellent "The Escapist" to the mega-budgeted "Rise of the Apes" without passing Go, Blakeson seems to be skipping a few steps, and going straight for the tentpole.
The helmer has been signed by Warner Bros to direct the drama "Hell and Gone," a tragic love story, drawing comparisons with "Titanic," set against the background of the Great Chicago Fire. The fire, which burned from October 8th - October 10th, 1871, had a death toll in the hundreds, and destroyed almost four square miles of the city, although many believe that the rebuilding that followed helped Chicago transform into the city we know now. Sufjan Stevens soundtrack, anyone?
Perhaps most intriguingly, the script is from Jonah Nolan, the brother of Christopher, and writer of "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises," in what's likely to be his first major excursion out from under his brother's wing (although he did a much-heralded, but ultimately uncredited, rewrite on "Terminator: Salvation," and he's currently working on a TV show with JJ Abrams).
It all sounds quite expensive and large-scale, which is why we're somewhat surprised that Blakeson's been hired for this one -- even Nolan had to prove himself on the mid-budget "Insomnia" before he got the keys to the blockbuster cupboard. But with the same names cropping up on every directing wish-list in town, regardless of whether they have any capacity for direction or not (Scott Stewart? Pierre Morel? Really?), it seems like a good time to bring in a new name, especially one as talented as Blakeson. There's no word on a start date for the project, but, green light allowing, we imagine it'll get moving some time next year. [Heat Vision]