In 2010 when “The Secret In Their Eyes” took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, it seemed totally out of left field. And for good reason, because while the Academy had all received screeners of the movie, it had yet to hit theaters for anybody else. But when it did finally arrive, it quickly became clear why Juan José Campanella‘s work took home the gold. It’s a twisty thriller, an intelligent procedural and moving drama all rolled into one exciting package, directed with flair by Campanella, whose complex soccer match sequence/tracking shot became one of the major talking points around the film. Of course, Hollywood came calling and a remake was quickly underway with Billy Ray (“Shattered Glass,” “Breach“) set to write and direct. And then…nothing. Until now.
It seems casting is moving forward as Twitch reports that Denzel Washington has been offered the lead role in the film, which is set up over at Warner Bros. The plot involves Benjamin Esposito, a retired criminal court investigator who’s haunted both by an unsolved murder, and by his unrequited love for his former boss. The story unfolds through a tricky dual structure, cutting between 1999 and 1974. What made Campanella’s film even richer than its genre trappings suggest, was that it’s set against the backdrop of decades of real life corrupt Argentinian politics. Listen, nothing against Ray, but we just don’t see how his film could ever retain the rich dramatic subtext of Campanella’s film. Also, Denzel? Unless he’s going to play completely against type, the lead role is one that requires a bit more meek and humble in stature, not an A-list star. But then again this whole idea is pretty terrible and so we’re not surprised it could be watered down into some kind of standard, star-driven vehicle.
Of course, this is just an offer and Washington may not do it at all, but it’s an early indication of where WB wants to take this thing. Anyway, Denzel will be busy this fall filming “Flight” with Robert Zemeckis, playing a boozing, pill popping pilot who inadvertently becomes a hero. After that he’ll star in “Safe House,” which hits theaters in early 2012.