To date, the only film which Christopher Nolan directed but shares no writing credit on is his sophomore effort, 2002’s Insomnia. Aside from that film – a remake of the 1997 Norwegian movie of the same name adapted by Hilary Seitz (Eagle Eye) – Nolan has written or co-written each of his films, including rewriting his brother Jonathan’s original script for the currently-shooting Interstellar.
Nolan’s work-for-hire days are well behind him, but a project he first turned in back in 1998 is seeing some new developments. Reports are in that Gemma Arterton and Tim Roth are set to star in The Keys to the Street, which Christopher Nolan adapted with Michael Stokes from British author Ruth Rendell’s novel. The film will be directed by Czech helmer Julius Sevcík and shot in the U.K.
As reported by Variety, Arterton has been attached to this project for the past three years, but Roth is a new addition. The plot was originally described as revolving “around a bone marrow donor who enters a relationship with the mysterious man whose life she saved.”
The London-set story has been updated, and now reads: “A woman accepts a house-sitting assignment in order to escape her violent and disturbed ex-boyfriend [to be played by Roth].” After a series of murders occurs in the neighborhood, Arterton’s character takes up with another lover, played by Max Irons.
The project originated back in 1998, after Nolan’s breakout debut film Following and will be the first script with his name on it not to be directed by him as well. Nolan is currently not involved in any direct way, and it is unclear just how much of Nolan’s input remains.
His writing credit suggests that the filmmakers retained some portion of the story – characters, dialogue or scenarios – which Nolan was responsible for… or else it’s merely a marketing ploy to drum up publicity.
The film is being produced by Pretty Pictures (Kinsey) and Apollo Pictures (The Laureate), working with producer Gail Mutrux (Rain Man), Myriad and CAA. Myriad’s Kirk D’Amico – the film’s executive producer – commented on the story’s potential, saying:
“We think that audiences will love how Christopher Nolan and Michael Stokes have adapted this popular English mystery novel….with a dark edge.”
Nolan certainly knows dark edges, and has a knack for adding surprises to the properties he’s adapted from prior works, like Memento (which Nolan fleshed out from his brother Jonathan’s short story), The Prestige (adapted with plenty of changes from Christopher Priest’s novel) and, of course, his Dark Knight trilogy, which remained true to the core of the Batman mythos (for the most part) even as Nolan put his own stamp on the material.
Again, there is the question of how much of Nolan’s contributions to the script have been retained. As a director, Nolan has a very deliberate approach to pacing and tone, and it remains to be seen whether or not director Sevcík – whose output consists of several short films and two Czechoslovakian features – can adapt to Nolan’s writing style, although his original draft is certain to have seen numerous rewrites over the years.
There is no release date set for The Keys to the Street, which will begin filming in the U.K. early in 2014.