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Hollywood is a Slave to Fukunaga; Hot Helmer Adds Sony’s “The Black Count” to Future Slate

Take a filmmaker that has easily become tinseltown’s hottest commodity with a hit television series (see True Detective) and Hollywood comes calling. To some degree this also happened to have been the case when he broke out at Sundance with Sin Nombre, but this is bigger. While Beasts of No Nation appears to be Cary Fukunaga’s next project and there’ll be tons more added to his future slate, Deadline reports that the talented filmmaker has joined the book to film adaption of The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, And The Real Count of Monte Cristo — a sort of, and don’t quote me here, torrid color-barrier description that will certainly find comparison to 12 Years a Slave but during the dawn of the 19th century, The pic is being packaged by Sony and musician John Legend’s production house. Fukunaga’s Parliament of Owls will co-produce, while Get Lifted’s Troy Carter and Sony’s Josh Bratman will serve as executive producers.

Gist: Based on Pulitzer-winning 2012 biography written by Tom Reiss, this chronicles the life and adventures of French Revolution-era General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. Born to a French nobleman and a slave woman of African descent, Dumas became the highest-ranking person of color to ever serve in any European army. A favorite of Napoleon for a time, Dumas was also the first non-white to become a brigadier general in the French military. Dumas’ exploits were used as the basis for the novels of his son Alexandre Dumas. Better known today than his father, the younger Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers and The Count Of Monte Cristo.

Worth Noting: Benh Zeitlin’s Glory at Sea (which would serve as an outline for Beasts of the Southern Wild) was among Fukunaga’s first projects as a budding cinematographer.

Do We Care?: If I had to guess, there certainly might be some high seas puffery a la Master and Commander mixed in with the dramatic 12 Years a Slave arch, but aside from scope, aesthetic look of the film and casting choices (who’ll play Napoleon?) we’re most concerned with the tone of the film — no other way around it, this needs to be harsh, stomach-churning in quality.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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