Way back in 2012, producers Steve Lanning and Philip Hobbs’ tried to get some unproduced scripts by Stanley Kubrick into into production in Hollywood. Entertainment One picked up “The Downslope,” once conceived as a massive $100 million project, to be made into a TV movie, with another script, “God Fearing Man,” slated for a miniseries. And while news on the latter has gone very quiet, “The Downslope” is headed for the big screen.
Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball,” “World War Z“) will now direct “The Downslope” which is being turned into a trilogy. The story focuses on a bitter series of Civil War battles in the Shenandoah Valley between Union General George Armstrong Custer and Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby, known as the Gray Ghost for his stealth and elusiveness. His cavalrymen, known as Mosby’s Rangers, continually outsmarted the much larger enemy forces in a sequence of raids, which enraged Custer and eventually created a fierce cycle of revenge between the two men.
Civil War historian Shelby Foote originally drafted the screenplay with Kubrick, with the director as per usual obsessively researching the conflagration, creating maps and taking notes for the movie he would never make. Forster will helm the first movie in the trilogy, while sticking around to produce the second and third installments, which will expand upon Kubrick’s original story and which focus on the journey west, as post-war Americans settled the new frontier.
Of course, following in the footsteps of Kubrick is a monumental job, but if this project can come close to the spirit in which the legendary filmmaker would’ve made it, perhaps that will be an accomplishment enough.