Cameron Crowe? Meth addict drama? For a director who is generally known for films that depict intimate relationships with comedy and heart (though “Vanilla Sky” is obviously an outlier), it seems like something you wouldn’t immediately find in his wheelhouse. However, he’s been trying to get “Beautiful Boy” made for a while now. Currently housed under Brad Pitt‘s Plan B shingle, the project has survived from scripting issues, and it was reported last year that it would roll next after Crowe’s currently filming untitled comedy (formerly known as “Deep Tiki“). And it seems that may still be the case.
In an extensive, must-read THR profile on Mark Wahlberg (one time Funky Bunch member turned actor/producer/mini-mogul), he reveals that he’s taken a look at “Beautiful Boy.” “I’ve met with Cameron Crowe about possibly doing that,” he stated. Granted, that’s as far as the quote goes, and it’s unclear if he’ll be on board strictly as a producer or star as well (though we don’t see him turning down the chance to work with the director) but the material is interesting.
Based on David Sheff‘s titular memoir, while also being balanced by his son’s Nic Sheff‘s account in “Tweak,” the film will chronicle meth addiction and recovery through the eyes of a father who watches his son struggle with the disease. Here’s the Amazon synopsis for both books:
“Beautiful Boy“: What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the rehabs. His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself, and the obsessive worry and stress took a tremendous toll. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic.
“Tweak“: Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It’s a harrowing portrait—but not one without hope.
Promising stuff, but again, not much in the way of further details. But it seems like an emotional part Wahlberg could take a real bite out of, and he already has something of an understanding of that world, having founded the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation with his brother James, who is now 27 years sober. Hopefully, more word on this one will emerge soon.