Actress Kirsten Dunst is attached to star opposite Chloe Moretz (“Kick-Ass,” “Let Me In“) in the Taylor Lane Productions/Lighthouse Entertainment adaptation of Andrea Portes‘ coming of age novel “Hick” according to Taylor Lane owner and founder Christian Taylor who spoke to the Playlist by phone this weekend from his home in California.
Recent rumors suggested that Colin Farrell would be taking the lead male role in the picture and while Taylor confirmed that the Irish star was in discussions for the part, he ultimately had to pass due to a 2011 scheduling conflict with what appears to be Columbia‘s “Total Recall” remake which will apparently start lensing in the spring of 2011.
“Lymelife” filmmaker and Martin Scorsese protege Derick Martini is already scheduled to direct (Scorsese also executive produced “Lymelife” which was Martini’s feature-length debut and lent his name to 1999’s micro-budgeted “Smiling Fish & Goat on Fire” feature which Martini starred in and co-wrote). Martini received a Breakthrough Director nomination from the 2009 Gotham Awards for his work on “Lymelife” (and coincidentally enough, the 2010 Gotham Awards take place tonight in New York City).
Portes’ debut book — she also wrote the screenplay — tracks Luli (Moretz), a 13-year-old Nebraskan girl and her hard-going life on the road after she runs away from her neglectful parents and home. Taylor described the film as having a mix of various elements; from the sassy sardonic teenage wit of Diablo Cody to fantasy elements described “as if Danny Boyle directed ‘The Wizard Of Oz‘ ” — a picture that seems to have various thematic ties to “Hick.” The producer also told us the film would heavily feature an ’80s soundtrack and would be akin to the young roles Jodi Foster took in her teenage years (evidently there are some difficult/potentially “sensitive” scenes in the picture). In the drama with its shades of dark humor, Dunst will play Glenda, the hard-living grifter who takes the young Luli in off the road. The role of Eddie — a menacing and volatile James Dean-like grifter — has not yet been cast, but was the one Farrell was in discussions over. Here’s the Amazon synopsis.
Young Luli knows losers — her “aging Brigitte Bardot” mother, Tammy, and her father, Nick, go at each other every night at the Alibi, the watering hole in hometown Palmyra, Neb. Tammy runs away one morning, and Nick soon follows, leaving Luli alone at home with the Smith and Wesson .45 her Uncle Nipper gave her. Pistol in tow, she hitches rides heading west to Vegas. A crooked man named Eddie picks her up briefly before throwing her out of the car. Next comes cocaine-snorting grifter Glenda, who enlists Luli as an accessory to a robbery that goes awry. Glenda takes Luli under her wing. The two cross paths again with Eddie, who rapes Luli and ties her up in a secluded motel. Glenda comes to her rescue, but the confrontation with Eddie ends badly. Luli’s flippant narration makes for a love-it or hate-it read.
Taylor said other touchstone influences for the picture are Terrence Malick‘s “Badlands” and Peter Bogdanovich‘s “Paper Moon.” The producer believes the picture could be an awards vehicle for Moretz if all goes well. “Hick” is eyeing a February 2011 shoot in New Mexico and a male lead is actively being sought.