Former Wachowski Brothers protégé James McTeigue (he directed both "V for Vendetta" and the gory-good "Ninja Assassin" for the Brothers and producer Joel Silver) has apparently made the suits at Relativity happy. The director helmed their forthcoming Edgar Allan Poe thriller "The Raven," and according to Deadline, they've just hired him back to take on the high profile historical drama "Ness/Capone."
The script, a 2010 Black List entry by first timer Grant Pierce Myers, focuses on the contentious early relationship between the well-known lawman Eliot Ness and infamous gangster Al Capone in Prohibition Era Chicago. The project was acquired by Relativity back in April, when we noted it would be competing with Ruben Fleischer's "Gangster Squad" for the period gangster movie love.
"Ness/Capone," which is strikingly similar to the "Untouchables" prequel that Brian De Palma happily never got around to making, follows a womanizing, 26-year old Ness and a 30-year-old Capone, at the beginning of their contentious feud. It seems like an intriguing premise, original enough without stepping on the toes of De Palma's original, masterful "Untouchables" and covering different territory than David Fincher's proposed thriller "Torso," which followed an aged Ness as he tracks a Chicago serial killer in the waning days of his law enforcement career (which by the sounds of it Fincher is sadly no longer making).
McTeigue, who has "The Raven" (starring John Cusack as the famous author) coming out in March, is in pre-production on "Message from the King," a contemporary L.A. noir about a mystery man investigating the disappearance of his sister, for FilmNation Entertainment. We can see McTeigue becoming an in-demand big budget filmmaker – he seems to be able to bring sizable projects in on time (and on budget) with just enough style and maximum entertainment value. Both "V" and "Ninja Assassin" were amusing pop confections, and "The Raven" looks better than it has any right to be. You can color us cautiously optimistic.