By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 4, 2011 at 1:59AM
For over a century now, bank robbers have been an eternally popular choice of protagonists for film-makers: as we saw when we looked at the genre last year, countless great pictures have been made centering around heists, and the success of Ben Affleck's "The Town" proved that audiences still love to see armed robbery on their screens. There's more caper pictures in the works -- most notably Brett Ratner's comedy "Tower Heist," with Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, and now two rival projects based around bank robbing look to be on the way.
Benjamin Heisenberg's German film "The Robber," which follows a marathon runner with a side-line in bank heists, picked up mostly strong reviews on the festival circuit in the last year (watch the trailer below), and Sony was previously announced as developing a remake of the project with "Spider-Man" producer Laura Ziskin. Now, 24 Frames reports that the studio's new golden boy, Andrew Garfield, is said to have expressed interest in following up the currently-filming "The Amazing Spider-Man" with the project.
The original film supposedly has an existential, minimalist quality to it that's likely to get toned down in the American remake -- an unnamed insider suggests that the writer, who hasn't yet been appointed, would add more backstory to the new version. It's a shame; our review of the original from the New York Film Festival suggested that it was the minimalism and lack of sentimentality that made the film work so well. Even so, Garfield's got excellent taste, and it's good to see him use his Spidey heat to try and get more difficult, rewarding projects made.
Another British star is also circling a film about a bank robber, albeit a more benevolent one; the site also reports that Ewan McGregor is attached to "Electric Slide," a biopic about real-life thief Eddie Dodson. Dodson owned a hip L.A. antiques store in the 1970s, frequented by celebrities, but became addicted to heroin towards the end of the decade, and in 1983 turned to bank robbing to support his habit. Known as the New York Yankees Bandit, Dodson peacefully and politely robbed 64 banks in seven months (a record), picking up more than $280,000 for his troubles, but was caught in 1984 when a bank employee followed him after a robbery.
Attempts have been made in the past at adapting Dodson's story, but "Blue Valentine" producer Jamie Patricof is taking a stab at it again, with the helmer of the upcoming SXSW doc "Dragonslayer," Tristan Patterson, on board to write and direct. When the film was initially announced, Carey Mulligan was also on board to play the female lead, but the much-in-demand actress has now fallen off the project. Nevertheless, Patterson's going to turn the new script in in the next few weeks.
Both projects seem to have plenty of potential, considering the talent attached, even if both seem to be in the early stages. We're sure more news will follow on both soon.