Cage has always gone back and forth between payday flicks and worthy indies, with a tad too much emphasis on the former, in our view. It’s hard to recall that he once won an Oscar for “Leaving Las Vegas.”
So there’s hope yet that “Joe” will give him a juicy role, working with David Gordon Green, who has lately steered away from the serious indie dramas that launched his career (“Snow Angels”) in favor of gross-out comedies (TV series “Eastside and Down,” “The Sitter,” “Pineapple Express”).
Financed by Worldview Entertainment, the gritty, southern drama is adapted by Gary Hawkins from Larry Brown’s novel about a small-town Mississippi ex-con who becomes an unlikely role model to 15-year-old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a nasty drunk. Principal photography is set for early November in Texas.
David Gordon Green said: “When Larry Brown wrote the novel ‘Joe,’ he instantly created an iconic character of contemporary Southern literature. It is with great excitement that I’ve been able to work with Nicolas Cage to design an absolute and unexpected performance piece that is woven from the darkness, beauty, humor and environment of this material.”
Lisa Muskat, David Gordon Green and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow will produce with Derrick Tseng. Worldview’s Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson Redlich and Hoyt David Morgan will executive produce alongside Brad Coolidge, Melissa Coolidge and Todd Labarowski for investor Dreambridge Films. Jody Hill and Danny McBride will also executive produce for Rough House.
London-based WestEnd Films handles international sales, starting in Toronto. CAA, which packaged and handled financing, is selling domestic rights.
Worldview is currently in pre-production on Eli Roth’s return to directing, horror thriller “The Green Inferno”; is financing and producing Ti West’s horror thriller “The Sacrament,” and recently wrapped Guillaume Canet’s crime thriller “Blood Ties,” starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis and James Caan; and Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis Three biopic, “Devil’s Knot,” starring Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon.
Cotillard also stars in James Gray’s “The Nightingale,” opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner; Gray almost brought the film to Telluride but the Weinstein Co. isn’t opening it until 2013, so they just provided a clip. British action thriller “Welcome to the Punch,” from Eran Creevy, stars James McAvoy, Mark Strong and Andrea Riseborough (IFC Films, March 15, 2013). In release is “Killer Joe,” directed by William Friedkin, starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple and Gina Gershon.