It’s hard to tell if a filmmaker is in 'Director Jail' or if he just doesn’t feel like working. After the critical and commercial misfire “Lucky You,” Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential,” “Wonder Boys,” “8 Mile”) didn’t have much going on. Then 2011 came around, and he made the well-received HBO Wall Street docudrama “Too Big To Fail,” and began filming, only a few weeks ago, the Gerard Butler surfer movie, “Of Men and Mavericks.”
As some of us know, there are things are more important than film, and given complications that arose following Hanson’s recent heart surgery, director Michael Apted ("The World Is Not Enough," "Gorillas In The Mist") is stepping in to finish the final 15 days of principal photography on ‘Mavericks,’ starting today.
Here’s hoping that Hanson takes the time he needs to recuperate, without rushing back too early to the editing room. That being said, will Apted share a credit on the finished film? The DGA are never keen on crediting two directors for the film, so it's likely Apted will end up with something else, assuming Hanson returns to cut the picture. It will be interesting to see if moviegoers will be able to notice the difference between Apted-directed scenes and ones by Hanson.
Hanson has long been one of the more underrated mainstream directors. Every movie he’s made since “L.A. Confidential” (losing the best picture Oscar to “Titanic” remains, of course, one of the Academy’s greatest shames) has been very different, although mostly well-received, bar the Eric Bana gambling drama "Lucky You".
But as Roger Ebert pointed out in his positive review of the 2005 film “In Her Shoes,” Hanson’s three post-‘L.A. Confidential’ films may have seemed totally different (“Wonder Boys,” “8 Mile” and ‘Shoes’), but they were “all bound by a common thread, the transformative power of the written word,” proving that Hanson’s the best kind of auteur: the subtle one. And we hope he gets back on the board safely, soon. [Deadline]