While his last effort behind the camera was “Flipped,” which no one did which no one did when the film came and went from theaters in August last year, writer/director/producer Rob Reiner isn’t slowing down for a moment. Firstly, he’s got a new film in the can that he’s now finishing up to show to distributors next month. First announced as “Summer At Dog Dave’s,” the film has been retitled “The Summer of Monte Wildhorn” and stars Morgan Freeman, Viriginia Madsen and Kenan Thompson in a dramedy about a wheelchair-bound writer (Freeman) of Westerns whose alcoholism is making him lose his passion for writing. Madsen plays his neighbor, a divorcee who lives with her three daughters and helps him find his mojo again while Thompson is his nephew. It’s right in that familiar, feel good wheelhouse for Reiner, but his next potential projects could find the director moving in a couple different directions.
Catching up THR at the American Film Market, Reiner reveals he has two films kicking around. The first is a heist film titled “Airtight,” something the director is interested in tackling just because he’s never done that kind of picture before. But the other will see him return to the kind of dramatic territory he staked out with “A Few Good Men” and “Ghosts of Mississippi.” You might not be aware, but Reiner has been a big force behind the battle against the Prop 8 bill in California — the declared the legal definition to marriage to apply between a man and a woman only — raising funds, founding the American Foundation for Equal Rights and bringing awareness to the cause. And now he wants to make a movie about it. It seems to be not much more than an idea at this point, but Reiner’s film will be about the legal challenge against the bill that is still playing out in the courts. “We have been involved every step of the way. Right now, we’re waiting for the Ninth Circuit to come with their appeal decision,” he said. “Either we’ll win, and it will be expunged in California. If it gets appealed, it might go to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“Prop 8, if we win that, will be the last big piece of the civil rights puzzle that will be put into place,” he adds.
We presume he’ll wait to see how the legal battle plays out before taking on a movie, but that hasn’t stopped others from already bringing the story to life. Dustin Lance Black penned the play “8” based on the legal transcripts, and Reiner took part in a celebrity reading.
While the helmer’s track record of late has been fairly atrocious, this sounds like the kind of creatively re-invigorating stuff that breaks directors out a rut. So we’ll see how it goes. No word yet on when we might see ‘Monte Wildhorn,’ but we’ll probably get a better idea once it lands a deal, likely before the end of the year.