Aside from Jennifer Aniston, of all the “Friends” alumni, David Schwimmer seems to have best utilized the career boost he received thanks to the long-running hit sitcom. He has used the opportunity of opened doors to take a chance behind the camera, and while the results have been mixed at best — “Run Fatboy Run” managed to make Simon Pegg unfunny while internet scare drama “Trust” has its defenders; he’s also been behind six episodes of “Little Britain USA” — his ambition certainly isn’t lacking and his project may be his grandest yet.
In a recent webchat with Empire readers, Schwimmer revealed what he’s got cooking for his next effort. “I do plan to move into more epic fare, actually, but still character-driven. I’ve commissioned an adaptation of ‘The Jungle,’ by Upton Sinclair, a story of a young immigrant from Lithuania to the meat-packing industry of Chicago in 1904, and the rise of the unions in America,” he said. Huh.
As Paul Thomas Anderson nerds already know, the director used Sinclair’s “Oil!” as a jumping off point for his masterful “There Will Be Blood” and “The Jungle” is just as savage. Published in 1906, writer/journalist Sinclair intended the novel to be about the plight of the workers in Chicago’s infamous meatpacking district, but instead, it drew attention for nauseating depiction of the horrid conditions in which food was handled, which prompted a government investigation that eventually led to the founding of the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.
Despite the hysterical tone of Sinclair’s novel, it undoubtedly touched a nerve and if adapted smartly — we suggest he goes PTA’s route and uses it as a launchpad rather than be too faithful to the source — it could definitely be a fine piece of material. Whether or not Schwimmer is up to the task for bringing it to the big screen, we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s always encouraging to see someone who could live on syndication checks for the rest of his life taking risks and using his resources to get some risky material going. It all seems early days at this point but it will be interesting to see how this all develops.