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Robert Zemeckis Tapped For Narrative Retelling Of Documentary 'Marwencol'

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist October 25, 2013 at 10:24AM

Last year's "Flight" proved that director Robert Zemeckis could safely transition back from his self-imposed, multi-film exercise in motion capture animation technologies and make compelling, real world, human dramas. Thankfully, this looks to continue, as Universal is lining up the filmmaker for "Marwencol," an adaptation of an acclaimed 2010 documentary about a man who suffers severe memory loss after being attacked and beaten, and his recovery via a miniaturized model of a World War II Belgian village. You know: that old story.
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Robert Zemeckis

Last year's "Flight" proved that director Robert Zemeckis could safely transition back from his self-imposed, multi-film exercise in motion capture animation technology and make compelling, real world, human dramas. Thankfully, this looks to continue, as Universal is lining up the filmmaker for "Marwencol," an adaptation of an acclaimed 2010 documentary about a man who suffers severe memory loss after being attacked and beaten, and his recovery via a miniaturized model of a World War II Belgian village. You know, that old story.

The 2010 documentary charted the story of Mark Hogancamp, a man who was beaten by a group of teenagers and who, through this diorama, came to terms with who he was, making tiny versions of himself, his friends, his family, and his attackers. It also followed what happened to Hogancamp when (of course) the New York art scene started sniffing around his village, wanting to display his work publicly. Damn them!

For the new movie, Universal has optioned the documentary and Hogancamp's life rights. The script for the film has already been completed by Caroline Thompson, a frequent Tim Burton collaborator (most recently on the stop-motion animation marvel "The Corpse Bride"), and is said to mix fantasy and reality quite liberally. 

The report from The Hollywood Reporter is that Zemeckis wants to cast Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. That would be a very big catch, indeed.

While Zemeckis seems to be perpetually attached to dozens of projects at once (something we might as well label Guillermo Del Toro Syndrome), most recently a Charlie Kaufman-penned young adult adaptation, the size of the project and the heart behind it, makes it seem like something that Zemeckis could get off the ground fairly quickly. It seems like the perfect project for the filmmaker, too, since he will probably do some crazy stuff with the village world. Just watch the trailer for the documentary below and think about what Zemeckis could come up with for it.

This article is related to: Robert Zemeckis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Marwencol


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