Things have a been little bit quiet on the Michael Mann front since his lukewarm and somewhat middling “Public Enemies” last year. He’s currently hard at work on the David Milch-scribed horse-racing world drama HBO series “Lucky” starring Dustin Hoffman. But in a recent interview with the Financial Times, Mann spilled details on the new HBO series and couple more feature film projects he has up his sleeve.
But first, to clear things up, if you think Mann is doing somekind of director’s penance on HBO, guess again. Asked why he gravitated towards “Lucky,” Mann says, “It’s one of the best pieces of writing anyone has ever passed to me.” Add to that the very director-friendly environment and Mann being another advocate for the cable channel, saying that it “isn’t really like any place else. It’s not really analogous to television, which is why they’ve attracted the people they’ve attracted in the last couple of years to do this work. It’s why Marty [Scorsese] would do ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ why Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have worked there. You have a total free hand.”
But Mann’s definitely eyeing a return to the big screen and has added two more projects to his growing slate of potential gigs. First up is “Big Tuna” (no, not about Jim from the “The Office”), which will tell the story of Chicago mobster Tony Accardo (who went by the titular nickname) and his successor Sam Giancana. So what has attracted Mann to yet another crime tale? “Here’s an older man who was the undisputed boss at a time when the Chicago outfit was the most powerful crime element in America. It becomes a classic tragedy of megalomania and hubris,” Mann said.
Also in the works is a bit of a gear change for Mann, the medieval tale “Agincourt.” Based on the novel by Bernard Cromwell, the film will focus “on a young man with a death sentence on his head who is saved when his skills with the bow catch the attention of English king Henry V. The archer develops into a warrior and falls in love with a young woman whose virtue he saved from a lecherous priest, and he becomes the portal to the bloody Battle of Agincourt.” The project is being written by Michael Hirst (“The Tudors,” the Cate Blanchett ‘Elizabeth‘ films) who has been developing the script with Mann for over a year now.
Interestingly, Mann admits to the Financial Times that he wishes he had more films under his belt, but says “It’s taken me time in the past to find that thing I want to do.” These are just two more projects on Mann’s plate that currently include a biopic/romance of war photographer Robert Capa that last we heard, had Eva Green attached and the long gestating adaptation of Ernest Hemingway‘s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” that is set up at Warner Bros. Which one will go next, remains to be seen.