We recently talked with director Akan Satayev, the helmer behind the Kazakhstan official foreign language film entry "Strayed." The picture is a unique entrant in the foreign language race, an unusually genre based film that's a little hard to explain and falls somewhere between David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock; telling the enigmatic, very visual story of a man who gets stuck on a country road with his wife and son only to encounter something far stranger than he ever expected. It's a film we never would have thought to come from Kazakhstan as it has much more in common with European arthouse fare, but when we asked the director what he was up to next, we got a little bit of a surprise.
According to Satayev, "we are in pre-production for the new movie, a historical epic drama" adding, "we are in negotiations with Kevin Costner" for a role in the film. The project will apparently focus on the foundation of the Kazakh state in the 18th century and the battles with Mongols. No word yet on what role Costner might play, but like we said, we were definitely taken aback.
The project will mark the biggest production in Satayev's career and he is planning to shoot it entirely in Kazakhstan-- we're curious to see how it develops.
But it's no surprise that Satayev is keeping an eye on Hollywood. He told us his inspiration for "Strayed" came after watching Alejandro Amenábar's "The Others," and he came up with the story in one night. He also let us know that he is a big fan of American films and directors, and they do serve as an influence in his work.
So, will Kevin Costner board a plane for Kazakhstan or this just a young director swinging for the fences? It remains to be seen but we like the hubris. Satayev shot "Strayed" completely in sequence, a method he prefers to use if possible, though with a grand epic in the works he will have to change gears significantly from the three character microcosm that marked his Oscar contending film. "Strayed" has been making the festival rounds throughout year but is currently without U.S. distribution. Check out the trailer for the film below.