Opinions differ about the the turning point of Matthew McConaughey’s career, when he moved away from skippable romcoms into more challenging territory, but “Killer Joe” is a good place to start. William Friedkin’s pitch black comedy — his second feature based on a Tracy Letts play, after “Bug” — found McConaughey transforming his nice guy grin into the veneer of a deranged hired killer. Now, that killer might be coming to television, but it will need a new face.
Friedkin is currently developing a series based on his movie, but intends to have another actor play the lead role, he said in an interview over the weekend at the Lumiere Festival in Lyon, France. The filmmaker said he is working with producer Bobby Maresco (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Crash”) on developing a new take on the “Killer Joe” premise, moving the story from East Text trailer parks to upper class Houston. While the Joe of the original story exclusively worked as a killer for hire, the series finds him working as the chief of detectives. “It’s set among the millionaires and billionaires, who have their wives or business competitors killed,” Friedkin said. “Joe is a hired killer who frames bad guys for the murders who can’t get arrested for something else, or he makes them look like suicides…He becomes a kind of avenging angel in the series because he doesn’t just kill anybody for hire. He has to feel that guy in some way deserves to go.”
Friedkin last spoke about the idea of “Killer Joe” as a series in 2014, when he was also pitching an episodic version of “To Live and Die in L.A.” This time, however, the “Killer Joe” project seems to be picking up momentum: EOne is in talks to produce the show, though casting hasn’t been finalized. Friedkin said he planned to work on the bible for the show with Maresco in the coming weeks.
The 81-year-old filmmaker, who just premiered his real-life exorcism documentary “The Devil and Father Amorth,” said he’s prone to watching shows and documentaries on Netflix more than going to movie theaters these days. “I don’t go to a lot of films because I’m not the audience for most of them, with rare exceptions,” he said. “The theaters in America are dedicated to blockbusters, which means sequel after sequel after sequel of a superhero movie. Occasionally, somewhere, there will be a serious film.”