Marielle Heller had one hell of a directional debut last year with “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” (our review), a formulaic title for a startling movie, which dealt with adolescence, but more importantly reflected growing up female in our modern day and age (even if it was set in the ’70s). Heller fearlessly showcased the awkward bits of growing pains through a distinctly female lens and a strong voice. The images that she crafted were from her own pure imagination, and we knew she would be a talent to track.
Thus the 36-year-old director was chosen as one of The Playlist’s 20 directors to watch in our On The Rise series last year, and her early promise appears to be paying off. She’s turned out to be a hot commodity in the industry, even directing episodes of the critically acclaimed series “Transparent.” But now she may have just nabbed her biggest ticket yet.
Heller is set to write and direct a feature-film adaptation of the HBO documentary “The Case Against 8,” an in-depth doc about the fight to overturn California’s ban against same-sex marriage (that we called one of the best documentaries of 2014). The expertly crafted film followed the attorneys that represented the couples who took Prop 8 to court and eventually to the Supreme Court. It was a historic civil-rights battle that had the entire country paying close attention to the legal rights at stake.
20th Century Fox will also partner along with a first-look deal and the rights to produce and finance the whole project, which sounds like it will be right up the Academy’s alley come Oscar-time. Heller is also in talks to direct Daisy Ridley in the J.J. Abrams produced Fantasy thriller “Kolma” based on the 2003 Israeli TV movie “All I’ve Got.” Almost every studio in Hollywood has tried to court Ridley for a post-“Star Wars” role, but it seems like she’s chosen Heller’s film. Suffice to say, many doors have opened for the up-and-coming filmmaker, and those opportunities don’t look like they’ll be stopping anytime soon. [THR]