By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 21, 2011 at 11:39AM
With the future looking cloudy for the alive, but delayed multi-platform adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower," Ron Howard has been eyeing other projects. Earlier this spring, he put his name on "Amnesty" a mysterious project written by Max Landis, described as a cross between J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert Ludlum. And now he's snapped up a very hot script as another possible directing gig.
Variety reports that Howard is in early talks to direct the biopic of Formula 1 racer Niki Lauda, "Rush." If the project sounds familiar, you might recall that Paul Greengrass was circling it not too long ago, before eventually settling on "Maersk Alabama" with Tom Hanks as his next film. Penned by Peter Morgan (who also wrote "Frost/Nixon" that was directed by Howard), the film will center on Lauda’s rivalry with English racer James Hunt. In 1976, Lauda nearly died when his Ferrari swerved off the track in only the second lap of the German Grand Prix and crashed, causing him to lapse into a coma and lose his right ear—Hunt won the race. Six weeks later, Lauda was back behind the wheel chasing Hunt at the Italian Grand Prix and followed him to the Canadian and U.S. Grand Prix as well. Hunt would finally earn enough points during 1976 to take the World Driver’s Championship title away from Lauda.
It's a (forgive the pun) high octane story and something refreshingly different for Howard who has been slumping behind the camera for the past few years. Of course things may change, "The Dark Tower" could suddenly lurch forward or Howard could lose interest, but he's certainly keeping his options open until Universal decides what they want to do with their brewing franchise. But it's nice to see Howard switch up his usual game, and between this and 'Dark Tower,' it's clear he's ready to flex muscles he didn't even know he had.