Indie filmmakers taking on Hollywood projects is not unheard of or rare. Noah Baumbach co-wrote “Madagascar 3,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” filmmaker David Lowery is writing and directing a big-budget studio version of “Pete’s Dragon,” and Alex Ross Perry recently signed on to write Disney’s live-action “Winnie The Pooh” (not to mention Colin Trevorrow only made one small tiny indie film, “Safety Not Guaranteed,” before taking on “Jurassic World”).
That said, it is somewhat strange to hear of Argentinean auteur Damián Szifron’s next gig. Szifron dazzled many at Cannes and other film festivals last year with “Wild Tales,” his six-story anthology movie connected by themes of vengeance and distress (read our review). It’s a twisted movie that features a corrosive anger and very real resentment, all wrapped up in hilarious dark humor. At Telluride, Szifron spoke to many American journalists casually — including us — and the world seemed to be at his oyster. He has several projects in the works and was entertaining the idea of working with Quentin Tarantino’s agent.
So what is he doing for an encore? He’s scripting TWC-Dimension’s’ “Six Billion Dollar Man,” which will star Mark Wahlberg and be directed by Peter Berg (“Hancock,” “Lone Survivor”). It does seem like an odd choice, although Szifron’s taste did sound very eclectic: he likes everything from “Die Hard” to hardcore foreign cinema.
“Wild Tales,” which he wrote and directed, was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards. “I couldn’t be more honored and grateful. Such a major challenge represents a great opportunity. The themes surrounding this beloved property allow for the creation of a memorable sci-fi actioner as well as a bold spy thriller. Expectations are high and I’ll do my best to deliver the strongest basis for an amazing cinematic experience,” said Szifron in a statement.
“When I met with Damián I was so happy to learn that growing up as a kid he was a fan of ‘The Six Million Dollar Man.’ He subsequently shared how he envisioned a modern retelling of the story with a new and unique vision. Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and I couldn’t be more excited that he has come on board to write the script,” said Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company.
“Six Billion Dollar Man” is based on the classic and popular television series, “The Six Million Dollar Man,” and the novel “Cyborg” by Martin Caidin. The story follows military officer, Steve Austin, who becomes part of a top secret government program after a horrific accident leaves him near death. With the help of cutting edge technology, Steve is brought back to life with extraordinary strength, making him the world’s first truly bionic man.
No release date yet, but Wahlberg is producing alongside Stephen Levinson and Bob Weinstein.