Shane Carruth, the director of “Primer” and “Upstream Color,” has largely be known for a few things up to now: creating beautiful, cinematic mindbenders and wearing as many hats as possible on his productions. He’s been director, cinematographer, composer, editor, sound, and more on his pictures, partly out of necessity, given they were made far from the studio system, but also allowing him total control on his finished production. But for this next movie, Carruth is going Hollywood.
Deadline reports that the filmmaker has inked a deal with agency WME, who will help him get things rolling on “The Modern Ocean” which is being described as a “big-budget” “nautical action adventure” movie. Now, before delusional diehard fans cry “sellout!,” or wonder if Carruth will compromise everything that makes him special, this isn’t the first time he’s flirted with Hollywood. When he was trying to get “A Topiary” made, Steven Soderbergh and David Fincher both backed him as executive producers, and brought him to various studios to see if they could get the movie made. Unfortunately, they couldn’t.
“If this were the ’70s, people would be throwing money at him,” Soderbergh said a few years back. “It’s just a different time now.”
But his next project is even more blockbuster driven this time around, so we’ll see if Carruth’s new connections will actually help. Certainly, “The Modern Ocean” sounds pretty fantastic on paper. “I’m constantly interested in the politics, interactions between different personalities, different characters. That’s what this boils down to: it erupts into a big action film, essentially, but the reasons why it does are the reasons the story exists,” he said earlier this year about his movie. “That characters are unable to get aligned is because they’re all pointed in different directions, they all have slightly different motives. And that’s not always known to the group.”
. “…we’re not tackling the Somalian pirates angle,” he clarified about his picture. “When we deal with skirmishes, we know the motivation and it’s always within its set of characters. The skirmishes escalate into full-scale naval battles using these improvised weapons on these cargo ships and so it’s not trying to make a commentary about pirates. We are a world of ourselves, unto ourselves, in ‘Modern Ocean.’ “
Frankly, whatever it takes to get Carruth’s next movie off the ground in less time than we waited between “Primer” and “Upstream Color” is fine with me. If big pockets are eager to get behind the filmmaker’s vision, that’s something to be excited about.