Peter Weir Returns With Adaptation Of Jennifer Egan's Contemporary Gothic Thriller 'The Keep'

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by Simon Dang
May 20, 2012 11:45 AM
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With his last effort, the ambitious road film "The Way Back," largely coming and going, we were dreading another long absence from veteran helmer Peter Weir. After all, he's only made two films in the last decade, with a seven-year gap between his 2010 effort and "Master And Commander" back in 2003. Thankfully, though, it looks like the wait won't be as long this time around, as a new project has been lined up by the Australian director.

Weir has signed up to adapt "A Visit From The Goon Squad" author Jennifer Egan's best-selling contemporary gothic thriller "The Keep," which previously had CBS Films teaming with 'Dragon Tattoo' helmer Niels Arden Oplev. That iteration of the project, which was scripted by Ehren Kruger, had been described as "'The Ring' meets 'Inception'" but with Weir tackling the screenplay himself, we imagine he's starting from scratch with a very different take in mind.

The story follows two estranged American cousins as they reunite to set up an alternative resort in Central Europe, stirring childhood traumas and phobias in a haunted castle. Excitingly, it sounds as though the adaptation may hark back to the early moody works of Weir, such as Playlist favorites "The Last Wave" and "Picnic At Hanging Rock," and may even see the helmer take a gothic horror route similar to what he had planned for an adaptation of Stephen King's "Salem's Lot," which fell through. Here's an extended synopsis of Egan's novel, courtesy of Amazon.

Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank whose devastating consequences changed both their lives, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle in Eastern Europe, a castle steeped in blood lore and family pride. Built over a secret system of caves and tunnels, the castle and its violent history invoke and subvert all the elements of a gothic past: twins, a pool, an old baroness, a fearsome tower. In an environment of extreme paranoia, cut off from the outside world, the men reenact the signal event of their youth, with even more catastrophic results. And as the full horror of their predicament unfolds, a prisoner, in jail for an unnamed crime, recounts an unforgettable story—a story about two cousins who unite to renovate a castle—that brings the crimes of the past and present into piercing relation.

Said Ben Said is backing the project through his SBS Films shingle, which has been behind such recent flicks as Roman Polanski's "Carnage" and Brian De Palma's "Passion," starring Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams. Scripting is currently taking place with a budget of around $30 million. [Variety]

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1 Comment

  • Miller | May 20, 2012 3:23 PMReply

    Wonderful news. I feared Mr. Weir had no plans (nor opportunity) to return to (independently financed) big-scale filmmaking - i.e., just any kind of filmmaking - in the wake of THE WAY BACK.

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