When you're an independent filmmaker like Michael Winterbottom, who generally has a few projects on the go at any given time, it usually comes down financing and support to determine which film goes next and what remains on the backburner. And sometimes those decisions are made lightning fast. When we spoke to the director's frequent producing partner Andrew Eaton at the BFI London Film Festival last month, he was reserved about "Bailout" getting made saying, "That’s a juggling act between Jack Black’s schedule and whether we can do enough pre-sales to make it happen." Well, they need not worry. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has landed the film for North America, South America, Australia, South Africa and Scandinavia and more kicking "Bailout" into gear with shooting begin in January.
First announced back in the spring, this unlikely director and actor pairing are pairing on a film based on Jess Walter‘s novel “The Financial Lives of the Poets,” with Black taking on the role of Matt Prior, a white-collar worker who’s been hit hard by the recession, losing his job, and at risk of his home being repossessed, all the while suspecting that his wife is having an affair. One day, he meets two strangers in the supermarket, who give him a job offer in an unexpected avenue (and if you don't want that twist spoiled, stay away from reviews of the book).
Certainly a premise ripe for comedy, and we're definitely eager to see what fruit this collaboration bears, but it may be way more mainstream than you might think (which would explain Sony's involvement) with Eaton making an interesting comparison telling us, "It feels like a natural successor to 'School of Rock,' it feels like the character from that has become middle-aged and fucked up his life.” Definitely intriguing.
But as always, Winterbottom is multitasking. THR also reveals that the director is still prepping a movie based on the Amanda Knox trial. This one was first revealed last fall as Winterbottom was doing research in Perugia, Italy. Colin Firth was mentioned as a potential star, though no word is he's still involved. The project has updated to include the recent release of Knox and with the controversy still swirling around the case -- not helped by her recent decision to dress as a cat burglar for Halloween -- there is promising cinematic story to be told here.
So it looks like Winterbottom has his project (or two) mapped out. Filming on "Bailout" to begin in January with the rest of the cast to be announced soon.