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'The Artist' Helmer Michel Hazanavicius & Wife Berenice Bejo Reteaming For Movie Inspired By Fred Zinneman's 'The Search'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist January 9, 2012 at 9:17AM

When you're the helmer and star of a near-universally beloved sleeper hit, with Oscars virtually in the bag, it's one of the few scenarios (bar a billion dollar hit) which means your next project can be pretty much whatever you like. The offers roll in, of course, but you have enough kudos that you could ask for $50 million to film a biopic of Shirley Temple, starring Edward James Olmos, and someone would step up to fund it.
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Michel Hazanavius The Search

When you're the helmer and star of a near-universally beloved sleeper hit, with Oscars virtually in the bag, it's one of the few scenarios (bar a billion dollar hit) which means your next project can be pretty much whatever you like. The offers roll in, of course, but you have enough kudos that you could ask for $50 million to film a biopic of Shirley Temple, starring Edward James Olmos, and someone would step up to fund it.

That's the position that Michel Hazanavicius finds himself in. Best known beforehand for his 'OSS 17' series of spy parodies, his latest film, the silent movie homage "The Artist," has become beloved by critics and audiences alike since it premiered at Cannes, and is now on course to sweep the Oscars, with nods for the film, the director, and stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo all but guaranteed. 

Hazanavicius has already wrapped a section of portmanteau sex comedy "The Players," once again working with frequent collaborator Dujardin, but at an appearance at the Capri Hollywood festival in Italy over the weekend, the director revealed that he's decided on his next project, and it looks to signal a move into more serious fare. The director told the press that he's planning a contemporary reworking of Fred Zinneman's 1948 Oscar-winning post-war drama "The Search."

The original plot involved a Czech mother and son looking for each other after surviving a concentration camp, but Hazanavicius has moved it to the present day, relocating the plot to Chechnya. And he's bringing along a number of his collaborators on "The Artist" -- producer Thomas Langmann will again return, while the director's wife, Bejo, who starred in both the original 'OSS 17' and the current silent movie homage, will take the lead role, of a woman working for an NGO in the region.

It's not going to be a straight remake, however. The film is described as being "inspired" by Zinneman's original, and the director comments that, "In the original film, the story revolved around a young boy who survived a concentration camp. In my film, the focus will be on the special relationship between a woman and a young boy as well." If it needed to be said, the film will be in color, and have sync sound. Duh. It's an intriguing follow-up, one that suggests Hazanavicius is moving into harder territory (while still paying tribute to classic Hollywood fare), and while details are relatively thin at the moment, we're sure more will be revealed once the awards madness has wrapped up. [Variety]

This article is related to: Berenice Bejo, Michel Hazanavicius, The Search


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