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James Gray To Direct Based-In-Fact Boston Crime Drama 'White Devil'

by Oliver Lyttelton
August 9, 2013 12:15 PM
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James Gray

That we dig director James Gray is hardly a secret, but we're glad to say that more and more are joining our cause over time. His latest, "The Immigrant," divided critics as much as ever in Cannes this year (we liked it a lot), but we're noticing more and more critical reappraisals for his earlier work, films like "The Yards," "We Own The Night" and "Two Lovers." And he seems to be getting more fans within the industry too; he's been flirting with studio projects like "The Lost City Of Z" and "The Gray Man" (both set to star Brad Pitt, both of which haven't yet happened), he's directing TV pilot "The Red Road" for the Sundance Channel, and now, he's lined up a new project at Warner Bros.

According to Deadline, Gray will write and direct the Boston-set crime drama "White Devil" for the studio, who are making it a priority project. It's apparently based loosely on John Willis, otherwise known as White Devil John, a white kid adopted into a Chinese family who ended up rising through the ranks of Boston's Asian crime gangs (you can read more about Willis, who was convicted of dealing oxycodone and money laundering earlier this year, here), and as such, sounds like it'll be right in Gray's wheelhouse.

Deadline describes the project as a "big scale" film and a "priority project," so hopefully it'll be moving forward with some haste. That said, with a script not yet written, we suppose it's possible that Gray's untitled sci-fi project will still come first, though that film doesn't have the crucial studio financing. Whichever comes first, we're excited to see what Gray cooks up when he gets a bigger sandbox to play in.

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  • laura smith | September 19, 2013 12:03 PMReply

    Lets hope that gray and phoenix continue their amazing work together - and get the praise they deserve.

  • thedudeabides | August 9, 2013 1:22 PMReply

    I only recently saw The Yards, We Own The Night and Two Lovers, but this guy has the goods. Probably ranks quite high on my list of relatively young American directors working today alongside PTA.

  • joe | August 9, 2013 12:30 PMReply

    somebody call phoenix and tell him to start working on the boston accent

  • Dan | August 9, 2013 12:25 PMReply

    Joaquin Phoenix seems like a shoe-in to get the lead role. Given his long-standing partnership with Gray and the fact that he's seemingly in WB's good graces being in Her and Inherent Vice.

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