Daily | In the Works | James Gray, Mamet, Zobel

Summer Crossing

Set to be the basis of Scarlett Johansson’s directorial debut

In just the past two days since the last news roundup, an avalanche of announcements of sealed deals (or at least ambitious intentions) has roared out of Cannes. Let’s quickly run down some of the most interesting.

Peter Greenaway plans to shoot his adaptation of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice in the UK next year, reports Geoffrey Macnab for Screen. Also: This fall, Christian Petzold will begin shooting Phoenix with Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld, his two leads in Barbara. “Phoenix goes back to the post-Second World War era, focussing on a woman who has survived the Holocaust. Presumedly dead, she returns home under a new identity to find out if her husband betrayed her.”

James Gray has written and will direct an untitled sci-fi thriller, reports Variety‘s Dave McNary.

Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. hears that Reese Witherspoon has joined Joaquin Phoenix, Benicio del Toro, and Owen Wilson in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. The PTA site Cigarettes & Red Vines notes that “Jeff Sneider at The Wrap (who it should be noted has broken about 90% of the casting on this movie), reports that Martin Short and Jena Malone have also joined the film in supporting roles.”

Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York, a barely disguised retelling of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s adventures in the big city with Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset, is being shopped in Cannes, and a trailer keeps popping up and disappearing. Let’s try this one for the moment… Update: And it’s down again. We’ll just have to make do with this image:

Welcome to New York

‘Welcome to New York’

Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli reports that Marco Bellocchio will begin shooting La Monaca this summer. The “long-gestating project is based on the true tale of a 17th century noblewoman forced to become a nun, but whose free-spirited love affairs inside the convent lead to incarceration.”

“Cate Blanchett will star in helmer-scribe David Mamet’s Blackbird, a present-day Hitchcockian nailbiter turning on a secret explanation for the 1963 assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy,” reports Variety‘s John Hopewell.

And Justin Kroll reports that Craig Zobel will direct Chris Pine, Amanda Seyfried and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Z For Zachariah: “Based on the Robert O’Brien tome, follows a teenage girl who lives alone and maintains a farm in the only valley with breathable air in the wake of nuclear war. Her world is turned upside down when two strangers wander in from the forest.”

For her directorial debut, Scarlett Johansson will adapt Truman Capote’s “nearly-lost novel,” Summer Crossing, reports Rachel Abrams.

Also, Dave McNary reports that Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, and John Turturro are lined up for John Slattery’s God’s Pocket: “Slattery, in his feature directing debut, adapted the screenplay with Alex Metcalf from Pete Dexter’s novel.” Plus: “Michelle Williams and Joel Edgerton will star in the indie remake of Italian thriller The Double Hour, with Maria Full of Grace helmer Joshua Marston directing from his own script.”

At Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier reports that “Le Pacte will coproduce and handle French distribution of Fleming by British director Duncan Jones (with a screenplay co-written with Roger Avary), a film on the creator of James Bond.” And Audrey Dana’s comedy French Women will feature Isabelle Adjani, Vanessa Paradis, Géraldine Nakache, Marina Hands, Sylvie Testud, Julie Testud, Julie Ferrier, Alice Taglioni, Alice Belaidi, and Mélanie Doutey.

Hal Hartley’s Ned Rifle is the third leg of his Grim family trilogy that started with 1998’s Henry Fool and continued with 2007’s Fay Grim,” reports Nancy Tartaglione for Deadline. “Gemma Arterton, Parker Posey, Liam Aiken and Thomas J. Ryan star in the satire about a thwarted patricide.”

Also, Jen Yamato has the list of directors lined up for the sequel to the horror omnibus film ABCs of Death. Among them: Bill Plympton, Vincenzo Natali, Sion Sono, Larry Fessenden, Alex De La Iglesias, Rodney Ascher, and Erik Matti. All in all, of course, there’ll be 26.

“Without Ang Lee or Sony, the Weinstein Company is starting production of a sequel to the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” reports Anne Thompson. Yuen Wo Ping “will direct a returning Michelle Yeoh and star Donnie Yen (Silent Wolf) in the sequel.”

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