Written in 1956 following the release of Kubrick’s allegorical war film “Fear and Desire,” “The Downslope” was a sweeping Civil War action-drama based on historical events. But Kubrick chose to direct instead his WW I anti-war BAFTA winner “Paths of Glory.” “The Downslope” was another cautionary, anti-war tale, that was originally developed with renowned Civil War historian Shelby Foote, who later collaborated with documentarian Ken Burns on his hugely popular PBS series “The Civil War.”
Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monsters Ball”) is attached to direct and produce the first in the series and will produce the remaining features. Producers Lauren Selig, Barry Levine and Reneé Wolfe are developing the material with Forster. Selig initiated the project with rights holders Phil Hobbs (“Full Metal Jacket”) and Steve Lanning, who are also producers on the project, which has the full support of the Kubrick family.
Kubrick spent years studying, developing and writing the story, creating maps and notes as to how he planned to shoot the movie. The first installment of the planned trilogy illustrates a crucial moment in history toward the end of the Civil War.
The succeeding stories will expand upon Kubrick’s original story and journey west, as post-war Americans settled the new frontier, delivering on the country’s ambitions and dreams of Manifest Destiny.
Forster is a gifted director who has not always meshed with the big-budget studio system (“Quantum of Solace,” “World War Z”); he has done better with his quirkier projects such as “Finding Neverland,” “Stranger Than Fiction,” “Monsters Ball, ” and “The Kite Runner.” He is currently directing his screenplay of “All I See Is You,” developed and produced with producing partner Reneé Wolfe via their creative company, 2Dux2, about a blind woman (Blake Lively) and her husband (Jason Clarke) who, upon the restoration of her sight, begin to discover previously unseen and disturbing details about themselves, their marriage and their lives.
“I am indebted to Stanley Kubrick and his visionary films,” stated Forster, who was born in Germany. “It is an honor and a huge responsibility to take on this project, and we’re thankful to his family for their support. This is a powerful work, an epic story, with its psychological landscape of brother pitted against brother, and friend against friend. We believe it will be an incredibly interesting trilogy, and a great experience sharing our mutual passion of Kubrick’s vision.”
Here’s the official synopsis:
“The Downslope” focuses on a bitter, strategic 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.