While “Napolean” and “The Aryan Papers” are perhaps the best known projects Stanley Kubrick developed but never got around to making, there were even more that crossed his desk that he never wound up pulling the trigger on. And among them were “Downslope” and “God Fearing Man.” And for the past few years producer Steve Lanning and Philip Hobbs’ Philco Films have been trying to get them made, without much movement happening. Well, there’s some fresh word today as the projects seem to have found life and direction, but on the small screen.
Deadline reveals Entertainment One is throwing their hat in the ring to produce a TV movie and a mini-series out of the projects. “Downslope,” once conceived as a massive $100 million project, is a story set during the American Civil War and follows Col. John S. Mosby who seeks justice after Custer hangs his men. The anti-war film was written by Kubrick himself based on a short story by Civil War historian Shelby Foote, and it will now be a TV movie.
As for “God Fearing Man,” it will get stretched to mini-series length and will tell the based on the true story tale of Herbert Emerson Wilson, a priest who became the biggest bank robber in America in the early 20th century. Brit screenwriter Stephen R. Clarke has adapted both screenplays, but there’s no word yet on any directors, cast or when/if this will actually go in front of cameras. But there is one big movie missing from this update.
What happened to “Lunatic At Large“? Set in New York in 1956, it tells the story of Johnnie Sheppard, an ex-carnival worker with serious anger management issues, and Joyce, a nervous, attractive barfly he picks up. Kubrick commissioned the script from pulp author Jim Thompson (“The Grifters,” “The Killer Inside Me“) and intended it to be his next project after “Spartacus.” That obviously didn’t happen, but back in 2010, it was reported that it was headed toward the big screen with Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell attached to star and Chris Palmer to direct. But nothing has been heard since. Is this still cookoing?
Either way, we’d reckon for “Downslope” and “God Fearing Man” it will depend if eOne can drum up foreign sales, and we presume they’ll be hawking these films at TIFF. And while being former Kubrick projects brings some cachet to these films, undoubtedly once they roll that fact will be an interesting footnote as they will take the shape and flavor of the helmers who ultimately come on board.