Following in the footsteps of fellow Quebecois filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve is capitalizing on the success of his internationally beloved Incendies to capture a Hollywood directing role. 24 Frames is reporting the Maelstrom helmer has just signed on to direct the long-in-development vigilante thriller, Prisoners. While some may view this as a pay cheque gig, few directors would pass up the opportunity to develop a Black List script that once had such boldface names as Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale and Bryan Singer attached. Like Vallee, whom after receiving top marks for his French Canadian drama C.R.A.Z.Y., went on to direct the Oscar-winning The Young Victoria, Villeneuve is using the success of Incendies, nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar and achieving decent numbers in it’s limited release, to work on a film that will most likely reach an even wider audience. Project backers Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment (The Blind Side) are undoubtedly banking on Villenueve’s ability to combine tense family drama with brute-force action to lead Prisoners to the same heights of similar vigilante-father thrillers that have become reliable fare for Hollywood since Taken rose to success two years ago.
Gist: Based on Aaron Guzikowski’s 2009 Black List script, “Prisoners” tells of a working-class Boston father whose young daughter is kidnapped, along with her friend. Frustrated by a local detective’s handling of the case, the father takes as a hostage the man he believes committed the crimes.
Worth Noting: The rumored cast list has been nothing short of a revolving door. Back in 2009, Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg were attached to play opposite each other with Bryan Singer directing. When that fell apart, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua stepped in with Hugh Jackman to star. Then came the ubiquitous Leo DiCaprio pass, but finding a director outside the three or four he normally works with became too time consuming and the actor dropped out. Let’s hope Villeneuve’s attachment sticks, as shooting aims to begin in the fall.
Do We Care?: Incendies was one of our favorite movies of the year. After watching Villeneuve hone his craftsmanship in Quebec, we can’t help but be enormously excited for the director to get the world-wide exposure he deserves.