Now that Sacha Gervasi has “Hitchcock” ready for theaters this week, what will the director do next? “The Jennifer Aniston–Russell Crowe project,” he teased when talking to The Playlist this weekend. “The Jennifer Aniston-Love Hewitt/Brad Pitt project. It’s all in claymation. Is that weird? And it’s underwater.”
All joking aside, Gervasi doesn’t have any immediate plans, so he’s “open” to suggestions. “Do you got anything?” he asked. What about returning to his stalled project, “My Dinner with Hervé,” which he was about to do pre-“Hitchcock”? Whenever we’ve checked in with its stars Peter Dinklage or Dominic Cooper (who was in town recently for the premiere of “Butter“), they sound enthused. “It’s an amazing story,” Cooper said at the time. “We filmed a little of it, so I hope we get to finish it, that it comes together. I’ve love to be a part of it.”
Based on Gervasi’s own interview with Hervé Villechaize — a.k.a. Tattoo on “Fantasy Island” — the film is about the actor (to be played by Dinklage) conducting an adversarial interview about his life and career to a reporter (to be played by Cooper) shortly before committing suicide. “It’s a personal project of mine that I know will come to fruition,” Gervasi said, “but right now, it’s up in the air. Like ‘Hitchcock’ took a miracle to get made, this film needs a similar miracle.”
Scheduling around Dinklage’s “Game of Thrones” commitments is just one of the hurdles the project needs to overcome, but Gervasi isn’t about to give up. “We’re really trying,” he promised. “And I know it will happen. But I’m not the one writing a check for millions of dollars, so I can’t tell you when and how.”
As for “Headhunters,” Gervasi disputed reports about being attached to direct the American adaptation of Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbø, although he did write the screenplay. (“I’m not directing ‘Headhunters,'” he said, to make it abundantly clear). As such, he could neither confirm nor deny that Mark Wahlberg is going to play the role of headhunter-thief Roger Brown. “So much stuff gets reported,” he laughed. “Someone sent me a link to an article about Mark, but I’ve never spoken to him. I have no idea. He may have spoken to [Summit], but he didn’t speak to me, so I don’t know if that’s true.”
Gervasi hasn’t seen the recently-released Norwegian thriller (our review here) also based on Nesbo’s book, which was directed by Morten Tyldum and starred Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (also from “Game of Thrones“) as Brown’s client-tormenter Clas Greve. “I want to do it clean, just from the book,” Gervasi said. “It’s my version, which for me is even darker and sicker than the book, which is really saying something.”
Gervasi added a back story between Greve and Brown that goes back further than when the two first meet up in the book at an art gallery run by Brown’s wife Diana (and with whom Greve is conducting an affair). Consequently, the drama between them is heightened, and by the time Greve is actively trying to kill Brown — for reasons that won’t be spoiled here — “the chase goes on even longer, and Greve is even sicker.”
For one particularly dramatic scene in the middle of the chase, Greve has to hide in an outside latrine shed, more specifically crouched in the full-to-the-brim latrine tank, up to and over his head (using a toilet paper roll to breathe) in “a viscous mixture of excrement, urine, toilet paper and rainwater.” That scene, Gervasi promised, “is in the movie,” but he’s added “a few things” to make it even darker. “Plus, it’s in a slightly different context,” he enthused.
More than that, he won’t say for now, because “I don’t want to ruin the surprise.” But the more he talked about it, the more he started to consider that perhaps he should try directing it after all. “I’ll have to ask them!” he laughed. “We’ll see.”
“Hitchcock” opens in limited release on November 23rd.