Thursday, 9 October 2008

What Spielberg Does Next

The Paramount Dreamworks bust-up has left Steven Spielberg with time on his hands. Here's a list of his next possible projects:

1. Tintin
A trilogy based on Herge's comic strip about a young reporter and his clever side-kick dog Snowy who always lands in exotic forms of trouble. Spielberg has held the rights to Tintin for 25 years and he may begin lensing the first installment this fall, using 3-D performance capture technology. Peter Jackson will likely direct the second film.

2. Lincoln
The director has a draft from Munich writer Tony Kushner for a project which has been ongoing since 2001. Spielberg says he'd like to start this longtime passion project in "early 2009, because it's Lincoln's 200th anniversary." The film is expected to focus on the Civil War and star Liam Neeson in the title role as Lincoln himself.

3. The 39 Clues
An adaptation of a 'next Harry Potter' book series centers on The Cahills 'the most powerful family in the world'. Spielberg has hired screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) to kick the whole thing off. Spielberg's presence as a producer as well as director bodes well for the film.

4. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Based on the story of the seven Americans charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention, The Trial of the Chicago 7 would mark a very political departure for Spielberg, as well as for stars Will Smith and Sacha Baron Cohen. Baron Cohen will play Abbie Hoffman. Smith may play Black Panther Bobby Seale (watch out, Will), and Philip Seymour Hoffman has been considered as defense attorney William Kunsler.

5. Dinner For Schmucks
Sacha Baron Cohen and Spielberg have been conducting a mutual admiration society since they met at the 2007 Paramount/DreamWorks Golden Globes party. Already in development, this could be a rare Spielberg foray into straight comedy with a kind of Larry David feel about it.

6. St. Agnes' Stand
A wounded man on the run who, against his better judgment, stops to help a group of nuns under siege from Apaches. Previously connected to Martin Scorsese, this adaptation has been in development for about 6 or 7 years. Those in the know say Spielberg and company are very happy with it, even though it has been kept very quiet. "They talk about it less than Lincoln, but that doesn't mean anything," says one person familiar with the project.

7. Interstellar
Spielberg attended lectures at Caltech for this project based on physicist Kip Thorne's relativity, time travel, and wormhole work. Dark Knight scribe Jonah (brother of Christopher) Nolan is set to deliver a script in 3-5 weeks.

8. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara
DreamWorks book exec Lisa Hamilton quietly acquired rights to David Kertzer's 1997 true story of a Jewish boy kidnapped by agents of the Papal inquisition. Tony Kushner is earmarked to adapt but is currently busy revising the Lincoln script.

9. The Children of the Lamp
This P.B. Kerr book adaptation about twins who live in Manhattan and battle with evil Djinn has not so far been ear-marked for Spielberg. At the same time, DreamWorks have not sent the drafts out to any directors - so it could be that Spielberg is eying it. Kerr's blog can be found here.

10. A musical?
The director told Time Magazine in 2002 he's set on doing a musical someday. The rank outsider.

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