Nicolas Winding Refn, the arty genre director of “Drive,” “Bronson” and “Valhalla Rising,” is apparently planning a few chess moves ahead. And again, he’s dabbling with Hollywood and major studios. The Danish filmmaker, already adapting a remake of “Logan’s Run” for Warner Bros. is in talks to direct an adaptation of the graphic novel, “Button Man: The Killing Game” for DreamWorks.
Written by Arthur Ranson and John Wagner (who created the Judge Dredd graphic novel character), “Button Man: The Killing Game” centers on a former mercenary named Harry Exton, who is recruited into a game in which retired soldiers are sponsored by wealthy investors — called “Voices,” because they’re only heard on the telephone — to face off against each other in fights to the death.
“Moneyball” producer Michael De Luca is one of the men shepherding this project. In development since at least 2008, scribes like Hillary Seitz (“Insomnia,” “Eagle Eye”) and Barry Levy (“Vantage Point”) have both written on this thriller. This one honestly feels a bit low on the list of projects we’d like to see Refn tackle, but a man’s gotta eat and we’re not going to argue (plus the deal’s not done either). Next up for the filmmaker is his Thai boxing film thriller “Only God Forgives” which stars his bff Ryan Gosling, and should appear sometime during the fall film festival circuit, we’d imagine, though whether it goes after a 2012 release date feels unclear, as the year is becoming packed as it is, schedule-wise. Refn also has a horror film he wants to make with Carey Mulligan in the lead, called “I Walk With The Dead,” that already has Euro funding in place.
“Drive” is one of those major signal to noise ratio disconnect films. Meaning, it made many best of 2011 year end lists, and the critical buzz was as high as any last year, but it largely fell on deaf ears with American audiences upon its release. One might have thought it one of the most unappreciated films at the box-office shortly after its release when it appeared to be a DOA dud, but it did crawl to a very respectable $35 million domestically and $76 million worldwide, off a $15 million budget, so clearly no one landed with egg on their face with that one. [Deadline]