Fascinating news today from director Robert Zemeckis. He’s on board to helm a new drama based on Jeff Malmberg’s stunning 2010 documentary “Marwencol.” The doc is centered on one Mark Hogancamp, who dealt with the trauma of being beaten up by a group of teenagers — and his complete memory loss, as a result — in a very unique way. Hogancamp built a one-sixth scale model of a World War II-era Belgian village, populated by action figurines.
In the doc, Hogancamp is eventually courted by the New York art scene, which he meets with both interest and intense reservations.
The Universal project currently has a script by Caroline Thompson, who co-wrote Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and the adaptation of Agnieszka Holland’s gorgeous 1993 version of “The Secret Garden.”
Word is, Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”) is hoping to cast Leonardo DiCaprio as Hogancamp.
Zemeckis was able to come back from 2011’s hugely disappointing animated flop “Mars Needs Moms” ($150 million budget, and only $21 million domestic haul) with 2012’s modestly budgeted and well-reviewed live-action drama “Flight” ($31 million budget, $93 million domestic haul), starring box-office reliable Denzel Washington. That film was Oscar-nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Actor, but didn’t really take off as a major awards contender. The “Mars” flop did however cost Zemeckis an ultra-rich Disney deal and forced him to back off of his company’s pursuit of “performance capture” (“Polar Express,” “Beowulf,” “A Christmas Carol”) which has been outshone by the likes of James Cameron et al. Zemeckis swiftly signed a rich deal at Universal studios.
If you haven’t seen “Marwencol,” get on that. It’s terrific. (And it’s streaming on Netflix.) Here’s the trailer: