Leslie Mann and Janelle Monae have signed on to Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming untitled film, which stars Steve Carrel. Previously titled Marwencol, the project was first announced in 2013. It’s based on the award-winning 2010 documentary of the same name, following the story of Mark Hogancamp, a photographer who, left brain-damaged after a violent assault, found recovery by building a miniature World War II-era village in his backyard. Ultimately, it’s a story about how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit.
Zemeckis, who has helmed acclaimed movies like Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, and Cast Away, wrote the screenplay alongside Caroline Thompson – whose other writing credits include Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands and Corpse Bride. Jeff Malmberg, who helmed the Marwencol documentary, is listed as one of the executive producers, though Zemeckis will direct the narrative feature film.
In 2015, Steve Carell was cast in the lead, and now The Wrap reports Mann and Monae have joined him in undisclosed parts. It’s the first role for Monae since making her big screen debuts in last year’s Hidden Figures and Moonlight — two of 2016’s most heralded films. Hidden Figures was nominated for three Academy Awards, and in the infamous end-of-ceremony snafu, Moonlight won Best Picture. Monae’s performances in both projects were widely praised, and she’s quickly risen to the top ranks of actors to watch.
As for Mann, she’s become a prominent face in the comedy circuit, having scored turns in titles such as Knocked Up, This Is 40, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin (in the latter, she also starred with Carell). It will be interesting to see how she navigates the heavy lifting of a more dramatic role, as it could prove a new direction in her 25-year career. It likely won’t be a total reroute: her husband is Judd Apatow, is one of comedy’s leading filmmakers, and Mann is frequently cast in his projects. Plus, she’s already set to star in Kay Cannon’s The Pact, scheduled for release on April 20, 2018. But it will nonetheless be refreshing to see Mann diversify her already substantial profile.
Overall, the film sounds compelling, heart-tugging, and well-rounded. Zemeckis certainly has an impressive track record, Mann and Carell add welcome star power, and Monae is a fast becoming a buzzy on-screen name. If Zemeckis’ take can land the same lauded reception as its documentary predecessor, it will be a big draw in 2018, bringing Hogancamp’s moving story to an even broader audience.
Robert Zemeckis’ untitled project is currently slated to hit theaters November 21, 2018.
Source: The Wrap