If there has been one through line on Derek Cianfrance‘s first three features, it has been family. His first (and still unreleased) film “Brother Tied” dealt with two brothers, his sophomore breakout “Blue Valentine” chronicled a crumbling marriage, while his latest, “The Place Beyond The Pines,” detailed the generational sins of fathers as they are passed down the bloodline. And now he’s lined up a new project, one that once again will see him tackle marriage, parenting, death and more.
Cianfrance has signed on to direct (and presumably write, though THR isn’t clear on that point) an adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s best-selling novel “The Light Between Oceans.” And while the title might suggest a seafaring sort of movie, it’s actually very much rooted in a relationship that’s going through some typically Cianfrance-ian woes. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
There’s no word yet on where this will fit in Cianfrance’s schedule, though the only other project on this plate at the moment is the TV series “Muscle” for HBO, which he indicated would be next last time we spoke. But priorities change, so perhaps we’ll see this one start moving sooner. The project is set up over at DreamWorks and will mark Cianfrance’s first major studio foray.