Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

James Gray May Direct Jeremy Renner's Steve McQueen Biopic; Calls 'Lost City Of Z' Epic & Hallucinogenic

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist October 9, 2013 at 5:03PM

Filmmaker James Gray has made only five films in almost 20 years. Part of that is a deliberate pace and part of it is just the film business. He had a six-year gap between his striking debut “Little Odessa” and “The Yards” and the Miramax/Harvey Weinstein experience on the latter (the ending was changed for theatrical release) led to another seven-year gap. But coming off his latest film, “The Immigrant” – starring the rather impressive cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner – Gray has numerous options at his finger tips. In fact, at the moment he has a kind of pile-up of projects that are ready to go script-wise, but need the funding green light.
5
James Gray

Filmmaker James Gray has made only five films in almost 20 years. Part of that is a deliberate pace and part of it is just the film business. He had a six-year gap between his striking debut “Little Odessa” and “The Yards” and the Miramax/Harvey Weinstein experience on the latter (the ending was changed for theatrical release) led to another seven-year gap. But coming off his latest film, “The Immigrant” – starring the rather impressive cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner – Gray has numerous options at his finger tips. In fact, at the moment he has a kind of pile-up of projects that are ready to go script-wise, but need the funding green light.

And there are several options. On top of the thriller "The Gray Man" which is still gestating, the two that look the most promising that are both ready to go are “The Lost City Of Z” which now has Benedict Cumberbatch attached and a sci-fi project revealed today to be titled, “To The Stars.” Penned by Gray and Ethan Goss – who has written extensively for the TV series “Fringe” – we received lots of details about “To The Stars” last time we spoke to the filmmaker. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint and I have a lot of projects on the go because it seems like the films have a life on to their own,” Gray said, alluding to the commercial failure of most of his earlier films, but their enduring and long-lasting shelf life. “That’s what saves me,” he said, characteristically self-deprecating. “Actors seem to like the work and people at the studios seem to remember the films more fondly then they were first initially reviewed.”

While Gray told Omelete this week that his sci-fi project may shoot in mid-2014, in our interview he suggested it could be either that or “The Lost City Of Z.” In fact, he said he’ll know this November come the American Film Market if Benedict Cumberbatch’s name will be enough to earn a green light or if he’ll have to get another actor on board. Gray called the project “enormous” citing several million dollars for the marine budget alone (it’s set inside the Amazon jungle and travels down that enormous river). “I hope it’s not my 'Fitzcarraldo,' ” Gray said, referencing Werner Herzog’s own Amazon-jungle epic. As for “The Lost City of Z” he describes it as David Lean but with a “slightly more hallucinogenic feel. Because [the protagonist] went to the jungle and sorta went mad.”

“The film will be a combination of different inspirations,” he said. “When we go into the jungle the movie will hopefully find its own language, but it is an epic movie and it’s very much in the early ‘60s, 65mm epic movie style, but I have a feeling it will get a little bit more hallucinatory then that. I have huge hopes and dreams for it.”

How does that become as personal and emotional as all Gray's films are? “That’s actually the easiest part of adapting this book – it either strikes you or doesn’t,” he said, describing the lead as an outsider. “This is a character that did everything he could to fit in and in the end he didn’t, but certainly [he] discovered something amazing. And that core struggle of his moves me very much and attracts me.”

Gray also wrote a biopic-like film about the legendary actor Steve McQueen for Jeremy Renner who was an admirer of Gray’s before he worked with him on “The Immigrant.” The two of them met after “The Hurt Locker” and Renner, who is also a producer on the movie, used his newfound Oscar-nominated juice to tap the filmmaker to pen the script. And it turns out Gray may end up directing that movie as well. “He was very good to me and a great supporter of my work,” Gray said of meeting Renner. “He still wants me to do that [Steven McQueen film], I may wind up directing that at some point.”

Meanwhile, the Boston crime drama "White Devil" is actually the one script Gray needs to complete (and he’ll be visiting the main character in prison soon), but he’s into the movie’s themes, which he calls somewhat similar to “The Lost City Of Z” – at least on the surface. It’s a Boston-based crime-drama about a Caucasian kid who is adopted into a Chinese family and ends up rising through the ranks of Boston's Asian crime syndicate. "Within a year he was the highest ranking white guy in the Asian mafia,” he said. “He basically appropriated the culture for his own. It’s a similar idea. A guy rejected by his own who did everything he could to fit in elsewhere even though it was illegitimate.”

Meanwhile, a few new elements of Gray’s latest film “The Immigrant” have shown up. A decent sized poster featuring Marion Cotillard (via Au Feminin) and a new photo from Mubi. “The Immigrant” will be released in the spring of 2014 by RadiusTWC. Read our review from Cannes here.

Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
The Immigrant
courtesy of The Weinstein Company "The Immigrant"
The Immigrant Poster

This article is related to: James Gray, The Lost City Of Z, Steve McQueen, Jeremy Renner, The Immigrant, White Devil, To The Stars [Ad Astra]


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates