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Dee Rees Will Shake Up Musicals With Ambitious ‘Swirling, Futuristic’ Project

Titled “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies,” the film will be produced by Cassian Elwes and scored by Santigold, with visual effects by Industrial Light and Magic.

Dee Rees90th Annual Academy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 04 Mar 2018

Dee Rees

Stephen Lovekin/BEI/REX/Shutterstock

There is certainly no pigeonholing Dee Rees, as the writer/director continues to surprise with her project choices, since her 2011 acclaimed indie debut feature, “Pariah.” In addition to the WWII drama “Mudbound,” Rees’ recent credits also include directing an episode of the Amazon sci-fi series “Electric Dreams,” based on the work of author Philip K. Dick, and an upcoming adaptation of Joan Didion’s political thriller “The Last Thing He Wanted.” Now she’s set to leave her mark in another genre, directing a musical fantasy titled “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” from her own script.

To be produced by Cassian Elwes, who was also a producer on Rees’ “Mudbound,” the project is described as “a swirling, futuristic roller coaster journey of a young musician who catapults herself from the anonymity of her hometown of Same Ol’, Same Ol’ to the bright lights and plastic sights of the fabled It City, in search of stardom.”

Aiming to shake up the musical form with the project, Rees, who said she, ironically, has generally disliked musicals, wants to “make a musical for people who hate musicals.” Drawing inspiration from AfroPunk and SteamFunk, she added that she plans to infuse the Follies genre “with a queer, edgy energy.”

To that end, Rees, continuing to show support for black women artists, has enlisted the musical talents of the equally dynamic Santigold, who will compose the film’s soundtrack. Her last two films — “Mudbound” and the upcoming “The Last Thing He Wanted” — were both scored by Tamar-kali.

Dee Rees directs Mary J. Blige on the set of "Mudbound"

Dee Rees directs Mary J. Blige on the set of “Mudbound”

Steve Dietl

Santigold’s credits include four albums. She isn’t new to film composition because she also contributed to the soundtracks for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “The Heat,” and “Paper Towns.”

For visual effects in “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies,” the production will look to Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic to work their magic.

The ambitious project has yet to be cast nor does it have expected start or release dates.

In the meantime, Rees is currently in post-production on the political thriller “The Last Thing He Wanted” for Netflix, which will be out later this year. The film stars Anne Hathaway as a journalist who stops her coverage of the 1984 U.S. Presidential election to care for her dying father. And in an unusual turn of events, she inherits his position as an arms dealer for the U.S. Government in Central America.

Willem Dafoe, Toby Jones, Ben Affleck, Rosie Perez, and Edi Gathegi round out the starring cast.

Elwes will serve as producer on the project as well, marking the third time he and Rees have paired up.

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