Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth Review: 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them' Starring Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy Review: 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them' Starring Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Todd Field Was Set To Write & Direct An Adaptation Of Aravind Adiga's 'The White Tiger' Before Legal Troubles Halted Its Progress

The Playlist By Simon Dang | The Playlist June 7, 2012 at 8:59AM

We've often wondered about long absences from some of our favorite helmers, and pondered when and how they might return in our "What Happened To These Directors" pieces. While many of the talent highlighted in both our 2008 feature and the 2011 update have since gone on to make successful returns (Lynne Ramsey, Alexander Payne, among others), one of the finest American filmmakers included in both pieces remains away from the spotlight: "In The Bedroom" and "Little Children" helmer Todd Field.
1
Todd Field The White Tiger

We've often wondered about long absences from some of our favorite helmers, and pondered when and how they might return in our "What Happened To These Directors" pieces. While many of the talent highlighted in both our 2008 feature and the 2011 update have since gone on to make successful returns (Lynne Ramsey, Alexander Payne, among others), one of the finest American filmmakers included in both pieces remains away from the spotlight: "In The Bedroom" and "Little Children" helmer Todd Field.

News came last month that his period Mexico-set actioner "The Creed Of Violence" was gaining momentum, but THR have now detailed a legal power struggle that has halted development on another project Field was working on as recently as June last year. The writer-director was evidently adapting Aravind Adiga's Booker Prize-winning novel "The White Tiger," with an eye on helming an Indian production at some stage. The project's progress looks to be truly halted now as the two American production shingles (Smuggler Films and Ohio Films) behind it are locked in legal battle with India-based financier Watchtower Media Ventures.

So, what's causing all this trouble? It's a fairly convoluted tale but, from what we gather, Watchtower are claiming that -- after telling all involved they weren't happy with the screenplay Field handed in -- the two U.S. shingles were going behind their back, trying push them out by authorizing Field to set up shop in India. Discussions were apparently had about changes to Field's script but the producers advised Watchtower that no more scripting would be done unless a greenlight was given -- which Watchtower claim would see it "forgo all of its rights of approval," unable to pre-sell the picture's rights and be left with a ballooning budget.

On the other hand, Smuggler Films are claiming that Field was a pre-approved writer, that Watchtower were to have no involvement with the script and that, in disapproving of what was delivered, Watchtower had waived rights to finance the pic. In reaction to all that, the financiers are now looking to foreclose on the film adaptation rights to Adigo's novel, with things getting even more complicated as Smuggler Films and Ohio Films are claiming that the rights are owned by a new shingle, Rooster Coop, an entity set up to make the film, instead. Good luck getting out of that mess.

The most disappointing part is that the project's premise sounds wholly intriguing. The award-winning novel Field has adapted, which is described as "a brutal view of India's class struggles [centering on] a racist, homicidal chauffeur," sounds like a fascinating tale that we would have loved to see Field tackle. Here's the full synopsis, courtesy of Amazon:

Balram Halwai is from the Darkness, born where India's downtrodden and unlucky are destined to rot. Balram manages to escape his village and move to Delhi after being hired as a driver for a rich landlord. Telling his story in retrospect, the novel is a piecemeal correspondence from Balram to the premier of China, who is expected to visit India and whom Balram believes could learn a lesson or two about India's entrepreneurial underbelly.

Adiga's existential and crude prose animates the battle between India's wealthy and poor as Balram suffers degrading treatment at the hands of his employers (or, more appropriately, masters). His personal fortunes and luck improve dramatically after he kills his boss and decamps for Bangalore. Balram is a clever and resourceful narrator with a witty and sarcastic edge that endears him to readers, even as he rails about corruption, allows himself to be defiled by his bosses, spews coarse invective and eventually profits from moral ambiguity and outright criminality. It's the perfect antidote to lyrical India.

The legal woes sound quite twisted, so who knows if 'White Tiger' will see the light of day anytime soon. The failures of the project, though, just may be what initiated the revival of "Creed Of Violence," which, seemingly out of nowhere, saw Cross Creek Pictures and producer Michael De Luca ("Moneyball," "The Social Network") come on board last month with an eye on a early 2013 start. Hopefully, for Field's and our sake, that project has a less problematic path to production from here on in. The writer-director also has gangster heist tale "Hubris" in the works, which is being scripted by Bobby Moresco, but for now it looks like Field's attention has well and truly turned to 'Violence.'

This article is related to: Todd Field, The White Tiger, Creed Of Violence


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates