Indie filmmakers Spike Jonze and David O. Russell both have untitled projects in the works – with funding from Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures (True Grit) already in place.
Morever, the star-studded casts of both in-development films – coupled with the respectability of the men who are handling directing duties on each movie, has proven sufficient to convince Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions to pick up international rights for the pair.
Jonze’s project (his first film since Where the Wild Things Are in 2009) is described as a bizarre rom-com for the 21st century – wherein a man falls in love with the voice of a computer, which Deadline says is “similar to the Siri feature on the new iPhone.” (Jonze also penned the script.)
It sounds as though Joaquin Phoenix will be playing said weirdo, working alongside an ensemble of talented actresses, including, Amy Adams (The Fighter), Samantha Morton (Minority Report), Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens) and Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) – who replaced Carey Mulligan just over a month ago. Bear in mind, this isn’t at all the same project as Jonze’s impending political satire, which will reunite him with his Being John Malkovich and Adaptation screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman.
Russell’s new project (which may be his followup to this fall’s Silver Linings Playbook) is based on a script by Eric Warren Singer (The International) about ABSCAM: an FBI sting operation that took place in the late 1970s/early ’80s, which eventually resulted in the conviction of a U.S. senator and several members of the House of Representatives (among other politicians). Attached to star are Russell’s leading men from The Fighter (Christian Bale) and Silver Linings Playbook (Bradley Cooper).
These projects are just the latest “auteur ventures” that Ellison has agreed to fund – joining upcoming awards-hopefuls like P.T. Anderson’s The Master (which also stars Phoenix and Adams), Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly, and John Hillcoat’s Lawless. Suffice it to say, Ellison is looking to establish some serious street cred around Hollywood in a very short period of time.
We will keep you posted on the status of both Jonze and Russell’s new films – and let you know when they have actual titles.