Mark Romanek might be one of our most talented, and yet undersung, filmmakers. A music video legend who came up alongside figures like Spike Jonze, he’s only made three feature films in thirty years—1985’s little-seen debut "Static," 2002’s acclaimed "One Hour Photo" and 2010’s "Never Let Me Go." But it’s not for lack of trying: in recent years in particular, Romanek has been attached to a number of big-budget projects that never came to pass.
Alongside the Tom Hanks-starring mystery "A Cold Case," Romanek’s been attached to an adaptation of James Frey‘s controversial memoir "A Million Little Pieces. He was also involved in "The Wolfman," Disney’s "Cinderella" and "Da Vinci Code" threequel "The Last Symbol," but dropped out of the first two late in the game ("The Wolfman" at the eleventh hour), and the third was replaced by an adaptation of the fourth book in the series, "Inferno," with Ron Howard stepping in instead.
We love Romanek, and kind of wish he’d stop losing time in the studio development process and focus more on smaller personal projects, but a dude’s gotta eat, and so Romanek’s back in the tentpole world, as Variety reveal that Warner Bros. is in talks with him to direct their prequel to Stanley Kubrick‘s classic "The Shining," entitled "Overlook Hotel." Based on an unpublished prologue to Stephen King‘s original novel, "Walking Dead" writer Glenn Mazzara has just handed in a treatment to the studio, which involves a robber baron named Bob T. Watson who founds the hotel with his family at the beginning of the 20th century. "Grand Bloodiest Hotel," perhaps?
Alfonso Cuarón was reportedly being courted for the project but passed, but Romanek looks to be serious about the project, and he’s a damn fine choice, given the Kubrickian quality of some of his work. That said, he’s flirted with these big studio projects in the past without being able to fit his round peg into the square hole. Will this be the one to beat the trend? His dark style certainly seems a better fit for this than "Cinderella" or Dan Brown, but you can never be sure… In the meantime, Romanek’s also developing a "Boston Strangler" project with Casey Affleck at the studio, so he’s clearly finding favor over there. Update: Nope, he’s no longer attached to that one.