Following the unmitigated financial dud that was his pseudo-real documentary, I’m Still Here, Joaquin Phoenix has gotten back to taking on regular acting jobs.
The multiple Academy Award-nominee was rumored to be circling projects like Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar and Timur Bekmambetov’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter last year, but he instead signed on for P.T. Anderson’s new film, The Master. He’s now attached to appear in another noteworthy flick: the new untitled collaboration between director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.
Twitch has learned that Warner Bros. has acquired the new project from Jonze and Kaufman, which reunites the duo responsible for the acclaimed mind-bender Being John Malkovich and the ultra-meta title, Adaptation. The pair had originally made plans to reunite on Synecdoche, New York back in 2008, but Jonze’s involvement with Where the Wild Things Are prevented that from happening.
Annapurna Pictures (True Grit) came onboard to finance the latest Jonze/Kaufman effort earlier this year. While no additional details about the untitled project have been revealed since then, the film is still said to be a warped political satire about “how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the world, from oil prices to wars that will be waged.”
Jonze and Kaufman also have another would-be collaborative effort, Frank or Francis, in mind, but right now that flick appears to be stuck in a state of development limbo.
A dark political comedy in the vein of Dr. Stangelove sounds all the more intriguing when you know that a pair like Jonze and Kaufman are working behind the scenes. On the surface, it reads as a relatively straight-forward project for the duo, considering their previous two films were about a fantastical portal that transported people into the mind of actor John Malkovich – and a (semi?) fictionalized account of how Kaufman’s attempt to script a film adaptation of the novel “The Orchid Thief” instead resulted in him creating a screenplay that chronicled his attempts to write the screenplay (just chew on that description for a moment).
Like Jonze and Kaufman, Phoenix has never been everyone’s cup of tea, which was true even before he pulled his I’m Still Here antics. Nonetheless, he is a capable actor who’s shown a good deal of range in his previous roles (see: Gladiator, Quills, Walk the Line, etc.) and should do quite well working from a script penned by the likes of Kaufman. Between his involvement with this and P.T. Anderon’s next project, Phoenix is definitely poised to make a solid comeback, doing (semi?) normal acting gigs.
There’s no word yet on who else might be joining the cast or when the new Jonze/Kaufman project might land an official title. However, a March 2012 start date for production is currently on the table, which means Warner Bros. is probably aiming for a fall/winter 2012 release date.