Predictable has never been an adjective you could use to describe Paul Weitz. After cutting his teeth on the sex comedy “American Pie,” the helmer explored different genre paths, tackling dramedy (“About A Boy,” “In Good Company“), satire (“American Dreamz“) and fantasy (“Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant“). And this spring, he’ll deliver what is arguably his most dramatic film yet in “Being Flynn,” starring Paul Dano and Robert De Niro. We recently got a chance to chat with Weitz, and as usual, the projects on his upcoming slate are as diverse as they come.
About a year ago, word emerged that Weitz was lined up to direct “Admission,” based on the book by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Tina Fey was said to be eyeing the lead role of Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions officer whose (non-sexual/romantic) relationship with a 17-year-old prospect causes discord with her live-in partner Mark, an English professor at the school. Not much has been heard of the project — which has a script from Karen Croner (“One True Thing“) — since then, but if all goes according to plan, Weitz says this will be his next movie.
“I may very well be doing that next and fairly rapidly. It’s always this game, sort of, with people’s schedules, whether someone will pay for it, how much they’ll pay for it, or make the budget back. My mentality as a filmmaker now is very much I’ll do it for whatever. Don’t tell the studio I said that [laughs],” he said. “But I think you can really hamstring yourself by thinking you need a certain amount of money to make a film. I feel like that’s the case with a certain kind of film; with another kind of film you can probably do it for under a million dollars on a 20-day shoot. I may very well be doing that next, I’ll find out in the next two weeks.”
We presume the scheduling comes down to Fey’s “30 Rock” schedule and whatever else she might have lined up, but timing looks like if she’s still aboard, this will shoot during the hiatus from the show. But currently sitting on the backburner is a big fantasy project that Paul and his brother Chris have been trying to mount since 2007, a big-screen adapation of Michael Moorcock‘s seminal “Elric” series of books.
“We had the rights for ‘Elric,’ and I hope we haven’t squandered our opportunity. It’s something my brother and I read in our youth. Look, no matter what, we got to hang out with Michael Moorcock, who is a towering figure in fantasy and who wrote ‘Elric’ as the antidote to ‘Lord of the Rings,’ which he considered a bourgeois pan to the squireocracy” he told us, adding, “Elric is this albino, essentially drug-addicted anti-hero…And he steals people’s souls with his sword. I think we wrote a really cool script from it. But a script that studios were sort of loathe to sink any amount of money into because it was pretty true to the book.”
Weitz also told ComingSoon that, “We’ll probably take another run at it if we’re able to…I hope the movie gets made in proper fashion.”
And while we wait for these projects to push forward, “Being Flynn” will arrive in theaters on March 2nd. — Interview by John Lichman