In what could be seen as a sort of seasonal and spiritual companion piece to Olivier Assayas’ 2008 film “Summer Hours,” director Arnaud Desplechin’s film “A Christmas Tale” quietly dazzled with its warm infusion of family dynamics and melancholic themes of aging and forgiveness. Sadly, not much has been heard from Desplechin since that film’s release, but recently news of his latest project has materialized, along with main casting of another actor out of the spotlight for some time as well.
After first announcing plans around his last film’s release, Desplechin has finally confirmed he will direct the historical drama “Jimmy Picard,” which will also see Benicio del Toro as the titular lead, according to Deadline. Adapted from the 1951 non-fiction account by psychoanalyst Georges Devereux, “Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian,” the film will follow the true story of Picard, a Plains Indian of the Blackfeet nation, as he returns from WWII and begins experiencing unexplainable medical symptoms shortly thereafter. He then travels to the famous Winter Hospital in Topeka, Kansas, where he meets Devereux (played by Mathieu Amalric, who also starred in “A Christmas Tale”), thus beginning a professional and personal friendship guided by compassion and understanding of Native American culture. Gina McKee (“The Borgias”) will also star in the film, which is being backed by Why Not Productions (“Un Prophète”).
Del Toro has been slowly preparing a return to the big screen since the disappointment that was “The Wolfman,” and he certainly seems to be resurfacing in style: starring in Oliver Stone’s “Savages,” directing a segment of the anthology feature “7 Days in Havana,” or just hob-nobbing with Terrence Malick. Never a stranger to unique projects, the idea of Desplechin directing both him and Amalric in a compelling story such as “Jimmy Picard” sounds fantastic, and you can be sure both actors will bring their A-game to the table.
It seems we’ll see soon nonetheless, as principal photography on “Jimmy Picard” is set to begin Wednesday in Michigan.