It’s been over three years now since James Toback released “Tyson,” his gripping portrait of infamous boxer Mike Tyson, and other than keeping himself occupied scripting for the notoriously delayed “Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father,” it looks like the writer-director has been plotting another effort behind the camera with what he describes as a “totally unusual, inventive” film that will blur the line between fiction and documentary.
“It involves rethinking what the self is,” Toback explained to Vulture. “If I say, ‘I’m James Toback,’ what does that mean? I could just as easily be walking over there and saying, ‘I’m Harold Lerner.’ I could go to a second country with a different identity. I have a friend who is a famous eye surgeon, and one day, he said, he was in a paranoid phase of his life, he said, ‘How many identities do you have?’ ‘What do you mean? I have one identity.’ He said he had six. ‘What do you mean?’ He had six passports, six birth certificates, six social security cards, six driver’s licenses.”
It’s a fascinating notion Toback brings up. However, what begins as maybe a prologue to “The Bourne Identity” or any mistaken identity film is quickly dispensed with a much stranger, more philosophical explanation.
“It’s going to say it’s a ‘James Toback Fiction Film,'” the writer-director adds. “Because the reason I say that is that it might otherwise be confused with a nonfiction film; it turns fiction on its head. So that’s the official position…Let me put it this way: My life has been leading up to this moment. So that means I can die after this is over.” Who knows where Toback is going with this, but plans are to shoot the film this summer in Cannes; could that be some sort of clue as to what the story may involve?
Toback also talked up the underrated, Playlist-favorite Ben Foster, who’s set to lead the aforementioned ‘Gotti’ for Barry Levinson, adding that the actor “is going to be great, he’s going to be terrific.” We’ll soon see.