Hollywood’s wordsmith golden-boy, Alex Kurtzman, half of the screenwriting team (along with Roberto Orci) responsible for some of the biggest films in Hollywood, is preparing to step away from the typewriter and into the director’s chair.
Kurtzman will direct the upcoming indie drama Welcome to People, which he co-wrote with Orci and documentary filmmaker Jody Lambert (Of All the Things), but that isn’t the biggest news related to the project – as Steven Spielberg, through DreamWorks, has signed on to produce.
According to Vulture, Welcome to People will be an independent drama, a much different film than we’re used to seeing from the Kurtzman/Orci team:
“[The film] tells the story of a struggling twentysomething man who, after flying home to L.A. for the funeral of his estranged record-producer father, discovers that the will stipulates that he must deliver $150,000 in cash to a 30-year-old alcoholic sister he never knew existed, and her troubled 12-year-old son. Determined to keep the money to solve his own problems, he’s nonetheless fascinated by his unknown kin and makes contact with the two without revealing who he really is.”
Kurtzman and Orci have provided us several memorable film and television productions in recent years: Transformers, Star Trek, Fringe, a number of Xena: Warrior Princess episodes, as well as Jon Favreu’s upcoming western/invasion film, Cowboys & Aliens.
However, Welcome to People will trade the pair’s trademark big-budget action for character-focused indie drama.
The script is reportedly over six years old but, given Kurtzman’s current status in Hollywood, the writer, and soon to be director, decided to give the screenplay a second life. Don’t expect Kurtzman and Orci to say goodbye to their blockbuster screenwriting days – but it’s about time we got to see one of the pair’s more character-focused entries make it to the big screen.
While Kurtzman is entirely untested as a feature film director, he must have a few tricks up his sleeve – considering he convinced one of the most respected directors in history to give him a shot. That said, Kurtzman has spent a good amount of time on set – giving him the ability to shadow some of Hollywood’s most accomplished helmsmen.
Despite a number of outside pressures including sci-fi genre background and a big name producer, Kurtzman’s biggest challenge may be proving that his directorial eye can do his own writing justice.