Having spent the last four or five years deep in the world of "Harry Potter," making mad bank for Warner Bros. while delivering movies that have more than satisfied the legion of fans around the world, director David Yates and the studio are at an interesting crossroads. With lucrative franchise finished (for now), and with the Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy set to finish in 2012 with "The Dark Knight Rises," Warner Bros. is suddenly seeing two of their biggest moneymakers waving goodbye (though yes, they do have two "The Hobbit" films in their back pocket). Hoping that Yates can weave his magic on another property to get the money machine rolling, Yates is headed to Tinseltown this weekend to meet with honchos where he'll have his pick of the litter, and Vulture has the details on what he'll be considering.
As you may remember, this spring Yates was linked to a gangland pic "Cicero" and that still seems to be a project high in contention. None other than Tom Hardy is being eyed for the starring role. Picked up last fall by the studio and it’s pretty clear why it got the studio’s attention. Written by Walon Green (”The Wild Bunch,” “Sorcerer,” “The Brink’s Job”), and said to be in the vein of classic gangster pics like “The Public Enemy,” “Little Caesar” and “Angels With Dirty Faces,” the story focuses on Al Capone’s rise to power moving from the slums of Brooklyn to the top of the food chain in prohibition-era Chicago. For Warner Bros., it continues their sudden interest in crime dramas following the smash success of "The Town" with "Gangster Squad" ready to roll in front of cameras later this summer. And it also indicates their desire to keep "Inception" and "The Dark Knight Rises" star Hardy in the fold. But there may be some speed bumps to getting this one made.
Most importantly, Hardy is still set to star in another Warner Bros. franchise, "Mad Max: Fury Road." Moreover, there is talk of developing "Cicero" into a possible trilogy with the first film chronicling Capone's rise and the subsequent film (or films) tracking his reign and eventual downfall. So it sounds like there is still some development work to be done, but the honchos and Yates are contemplating getting it in front of cameras before Hardy heads to Australia next spring—which seems to indicate it's pretty far along.
No stranger to sticking with material for a few years on end, Yates is also taking a look at "The Stand," the adaptation of Stephen King's sprawling book that Warner Bros. will team with CBS Films to produce. This is the first movement we've heard on the project since the winter when it was first announced, but with Universal's ambitious plans for "The Dark Tower" now floundering, Warner Bros. is in a prime position to get their King project moving first. The plan with this is to split into three films as well, and Yates will also be strongly considering it as well.
And, if that's not enough, Yates will be thumbing through two more projects: "Fables," based on the Vertigo graphic novel that's in the hot genre of revamped fairy tales, with the story set in "Fabletown" of the Upper West Side, and following the Big Bad Wolf, now a reformed Sheriff, as he investigates the murder of Snow White’s party-girl sister. Does that sound like too much? Then how about having Jack -- yeah, the dude who climbed the beanstalk -- be the prime suspect. Yeah, that sounds terrible. And in a complete gear change from period crime flick and fantasy, Yates will also eye an adaptation of "This Is Where I Leave You" by Jonathan Tropper. The general plot is familiar territory, with the Foxman family coming together after the patriarch dies, with old wounds and grudges coming to the fore in what would be a dramedy of sorts. We presume this non-franchise thing will be the one WB leaves off the table until the very end of the meeting.
All this to say that a) Warner Bros loves Yates and b) for anyone worried about the studio's bankroll in the absence of Harry Potter and Bruce Wayne, they're more than covered. With "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2" primed to smash every box office record it can, Yates will definitely have his pick of the litter.