By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 1, 2011 at 2:00AM
Becoming a true titan of cinema, of which there are few, the kind who can get anything greenlit, who take critical plaudits and giant box office success in equal measure, isn't easy. Even Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick relied on studio patronage to get their films out, leaving... let's say Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron at the top of the list. And, by following up billion-dollar success "The Dark Knight" with "Inception," a difficult passion project that made a ton of money and got a Best Picture nomination, Christopher Nolan joined them.
And the directors use their new cache in different ways: Spielberg set up a studio, and mentored filmmakers in his own image, while Cameron used his "Titanic" millions to go deep-sea diving for a decade. Nolan, in a continuing and successful bid to be awesome, seems to be doing something slightly different: helping under-sung filmmakers get work. Deadline reports that Nolan's company Syncopy has acquired the rights to an unnamed novel, and have hired writer-director Keith Gordon to pen the script and helm the project.
Gordon may not be immediately familiar to you: he's a former actor, whose credits include "All That Jazz," "Dressed To Kill" and "Christine," who moved behind the scenes at the start of the 1990s, writing the script for Mark Romanek's "Static" (in which he also starred), before directing a series of very strong films that never found an audience: the coming-of-age tale "The Chocolate War," terrific WW2 drama "A Midnight Clear," the excellent Kurt Vonnegut adaptation "Mother Night," home to a career-best performance from Nick Nolte, and the woefully underseen romantic political drama "Waking The Dead," with Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly. All are smart, adult films that weren't easily marketed, and as such, all failed at the box office.
Gordon's last big-screen film, the Mel Gibson-produced 2003 remake of "The Singing Detective" with Robert Downey Jr. was something of a misfire, albeit a noble one, and Gordon's only helmed high-class TV work since, including "House," "Rubicon," "The Killing" and nine episodes of "Dexter," so this marks an impressive comeback for him. We can only assume that Nolan's a fan, as few others would think of hiring Gordon for a project like this, and we love him even more for using his cred for something like this -- the "Inception" helmer and wife Emma Thomas will be executive producers on the film, the first time they've done so on a film that Nolan didn't direct, aside from on next year's Superman reboot "Man of Steel."
The film's set up at Warner Bros, is described as a supernatural thriller, and seems to be the baby of Jordan Goldberg, Nolan's former assistant, who Deadline describes as the director's right-hand-man: he was co-producer on "Inception" and the upcoming "The Dark Knight Rises." We're sure more news will come in in the near future, including the nature of the source material, but even with Syncopy's typical level of secrecy, it's an exciting prospect.