By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 1, 2011 at 1:50AM
"What I really want to do is direct," might as well be the adage that every screenwriter in Hollywood not so secretly clings to at night when they brush their teeth before bed and daydream of their Academy acceptance speech.
And yet the number of writers who have successfully made that leap is arguably few -- emphasis on successfully. Christopher McQuarrie might be one of the most sought after screenwriters in the world today, but no one really mentions his directorial effort, "The Way Of The Gun." Likewise, David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh have Scott Z. Burns on speed dial, but no one really recalls "Pu-239." Recent evidence suggests it's really not as easy as it seems. Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk") stumbled hard at TIFF last year with his tonally odd debut, "What's Wrong With Virginia," (there's still no U.S. distribution for it even with stars like Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris in the leads) and Bill Murray bud Mitch Glazer seemingly torpedoed his further directorial chances with the disastrous "Passion Play" at the same festival. Meanwhile, Oscar-winning "The Departed" writer William Monaghan's debut "London Boulevard" was recently met with complete derision during its U.K. premiere last fall.
Others like Stephan Gaghan and Charlie Kaufman have fared better, but there's a graveyard of screenwriter-turned debuts out there which leads us to (no pressure, dude) Chris Sparling. You could say that was quick. Last year, his Black List approved "Buried" became a small, but noisy critical hit (though not much of a commercial one) and now the scribe is making the leap to director.
Variety reports that Sparling will direct "Falling Slowly," which will star Mandy Moore and Rodrigo Santoro ("300," "Che"), a supernatural thriller about a couple whose apartment is haunted by a dark presence. Wait, didn't Tobe Hooper just announce the same movie?
That's about all the details right now -- no word yet on when this will go in front of cameras, but we'd guess it'll come together shortly. Given the lower wattage star power, we'd wager the budget on this one will be on the lower end of the scale but if Sparling manages to um, write his way out of the box with this film, we'll tune in to see if he can make the leap.