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Ron Howard & Dustin Lance Black Are 'Under The Banner Of Heaven'

by Kevin Jagernauth
July 19, 2011 11:23 AM
1 Comment
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With multi-platform "The Dark Tower" dead for now, and also freeing up years of Ron Howard's life he would have spent toiling on the picture(s), he hasn't wasted any time in lining up a batch of new projects. His Formula 1 drama "Rush" with Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl will shift into gear in late 2011/early 2012 and he's currently got a "Spy Vs. Spy" movie and the mysterious Robert Ludlum-meets-Tolkien pic "Amnesty" sitting on his backburner for now, and it looks as though they will also be competing for space alongside a new endeavor.

Deadline reports that Warner Bros. are bringing together Howard to direct and Dustin Lance Black to write an adaptation of Jon Krakauer's non-fiction book "Under The Banner Of Heaven." The story, penned by the "Into The Wild" author, "focuses on two brothers who murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother. The killers claimed they were acting on orders from God, consistent with their interpretation of a fundamentalist interpretation that goes back to the formation of Mormonism. The brothers were members of a splinter group called the School of Prophets, which adhered to original tenets of the faith that included polygamy and a belief that true believers could speak directly with God. These were rooted as the faith grew to a mainstream appeal, but the brothers remain convinced they were obeying God's command when they committed the heinous crime."

The Mormons are certainly no stranger to Black who penned fifteen episodes of the hit HBO series "Big Love." And really, faith, crime and sexual peccadilloes all play into Black's wheelhouse, with the writer nabbing an Oscar for "Milk," penning Clint Eastwood's forthcoming biopic "J. Edgar" with his (poorly received) directorial debut "What's Wrong With Virginia" waiting in the wings and David Gordon Green's "Barefoot Bandit" project somewhere on the horizon. This is very familiar territory for the writer and it's about as good a choice as you can make.

As for Howard, it continues his sudden left-of-field decision-making that is also exciting. It's another fascinating project to come onto his desk, one that certainly takes him a far way away from stuff like "The Dilemma" or those Dan Brown movie adaptations. But he's certainly no stranger to Black's work, as his production company Imagine Entertainment are also behind Eastwood's "J. Edgar" -- clearly, he's impressed with the young screenwriter.

Obviously, this one is not going to happen for a while, but it's certainly in some strong hands out of the gate who have a great story to bring to the big screen.

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1 Comment

  • Paul | July 20, 2011 2:36 AMReply

    I've read "Under the Banner of Heaven." It was pretty fascinating though not very kind to the Mormon faith in general. Regardless, it was a much better book than "Into the Wild," whose main character I found to be whiny, privileged, little brat who I couldn't WAIT to see die in the most pathetic, senseless way possible. My patience was rewarded.

    Good soundtrack though.

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