As far as Hollywood calling cards go for British directors, Daniel Barber has a pretty good one. Not only did he pick up an Oscar nomination for his short “The Tonto Woman,” but he then made his feature debut with the Michael Caine vehicle “Harry Brown,” a slick, violent vigilante thriller that, if you overlook its questionable “Death Wish“-esque politics, had much to recommend it — from a technical standpoint at least. So far, however, Barber hasn’t had the same overnight success that, say, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” director Rupert Wyatt managed — he’s attached to direct the Russian mafia thriller “Devotchka,” which made last year’s Brit List, but hasn’t had much activity otherwise.
Things have changed, however, as The Hollywood Reporter bring news that Barber is in negotiations to make his Hollywood debut on Alcon Entertainment‘s thriller “Substitution.” The script, from Ian Shorr, who penned horror flick “Splinter” and the futuristic take on “The Count of Monte Cristo” that Warner Bros picked up recently, is described as a contemporary take on “Strangers on a Train,” about a subsitute teacher and a high-school student who enter a plot to swap murders.
We can’t say we’re particularly enamored of the logline, marking as it does another entry into the teen Hitchcock sub-genre birthed a few years back by “Disturbia.” But Barber being at the helm piques our interest a little: hopefully we’ll see some interesting casting down the line. The script is still in development, so we’re probably a while away from seeing this yet, but we’ll bring more news on the project as it comes in.