Working in Hollywood requires skill, luck and sometimes, a helluva lot of patience. First picked up by Ridley and Tony Scott‘s Scott Free banner nearly a decade ago, Joe Lansdale‘s novella “The Big Blow” has been taking a slow and steady path to the big screen. Millard Kaufman (“Gun Crazy,” “Bad Day At Black Rock“) was first hired to adapt the story (sadly, he passed away in 2009) and a few years down the line, writer/director Oren Moverman was brought on to do further work. And while he’s been busy on a plethora of other projects (as he usually is) bringing “The Messenger” and “Rampart” to the big screen, and writing “I’m Not There” for Todd Haynes, it seems “The Big Blow” is in the mix for his next effort behind the camera.
The Playlist’s own Jen Vineyard caught up with Moverman recently, and he revealed that the “The Big Blow” is one of a handful of projects in various stages of development that may be his next directing gig. This is a small bit of news as there hasn’t really been much of an update on this project in ages, but it’s an intriguing prospect, and a film that would find Moverman going back 100 years to tell a compelling story.
“I’m not quite sure where that is, to tell you the truth,” Moverman continued. “I mean, I know where it is physically, it’s with Ridley Scott’s company, and Giannina Facio is producing it [but] it’s a tough movie to make. It’s 1900, Galveston, Texas, it’s about racism, it’s really powerful and extreme, there’s a hurricane that comes in, there’s boxing, there’s a Jack Johnson-type character, there’s just a lot going on. Now we just need the movie to get made, which hopefully we will. I’m attached to direct, Ridley’s the producer.”
Indeed, the story is a wild one, following an ensemble of characters during the devastating September 4, 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas and is still regarded as one of the worst on record. The tale revolves around a boxing match in which a group of racist Texans bring in a ringer named John McBride to take on the local champion, the black “Lil” Arthur Johnson, with the added incentive of $500 if he kills him in the ring. Meanwhile, a young woman loses her virginity to a gigolo, a couple with a new baby, a ship on the way to Pensacola and more all come into the mix as the storm approaches. A lot going on indeed.
But as Moverman showed with “Rampart,” a boiling pot of characters and charged themes is a milieu he can handle with ferocity, so it’s definitely in his wheelhouse, while the period setting adds an interesting new flavor to the equation. We’ll see how it all shakes out, but for now, check out “Rampart” which opens in select cities this weekend.