It was announced today that Worldview Entertainment, the company behind the recently announced new films by Eli Roth and Ti West (as well as just-wrapped features by Atom Egoyan and Guillaume Canet), will also fund "Joe," the new film by "All the Real Girls"/"Pineapple Express" director David Gordon Green that stars Nicolas Cage. Production should begin in early November in the great state of Texas. Foreign buyers are being sought at the Toronto International Film Festival this week.
"Joe" was written by Gary Hawkins, based on the 2003 novel by Larry Brown, and is described in the press release as the "story of an ex-con who becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15 year old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a drunk, worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of small town Mississippi." Cage, apparently tired of yelling all of his lines and setting things on fire, would play the title role of Joe, the aforementioned ex-con.
Green described what drew him to the project: "When Larry Brown wrote the novel ‘Joe,’ he instantly created an iconic character of contemporary Southern literature. It is with great excitement that I've been able to work with Nicolas Cage to design an absolute and unexpected performance piece that is woven from the darkness, beauty, humor and environment of this material." Green, who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and grew up in Richardson, Texas, knows his Southern literature, and in some of his films, particularly his debut feature "George Washington" and his underappreciated stab at Southern Gothic/boys adventure story "Undertow," that influence can be deeply felt.
In recent years, Green has given way to more commercial, big budget comedies, things like "Pineapple Express," the admirably bizarre "Your Highness," and "The Sitter." But he seems to be getting back in the groove of his independent roots, having shot a low-budget indie comedy/drama called "Prince Avalanche" (with Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) in secret. And now this.
Since "Joe" starts shooting in Texas in November, it remains to be seen what this means for Green's long-planned remake of "Suspiria," which supposedly had financing (and a cast) in place for a September shoot. Either he can somehow slide it into his schedule, like he did with "Prince Avalanche," or, more likely, "Suspiria" has been indefinitely delayed again.
According to the press release, Lisa Muskat, David Gordon Green and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow will produce alongside Derrick Tseng. Worldview’s Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson Redlich and Hoyt David Morgan will executive produce alongside Brad Coolidge, Melissa Coolidge and Todd Labarowski for Dreambridge Films, which is making an investment in the film. Frequent Green collaborators Jody Hill and Danny McBride will also executive produce for Rough House.
We are super excited about this project and can't wait to see what kind of Southern voodoo Cage and Green cook up together. Very promising indeed.