More than 13 years have come and gone since legendary auteur Stanley Kubrick passed away, shortly after finishing his preferred cut of Eyes Wide Shut. Entertainment One (eOne) now has plans to take a pair of Kubrick scripts that never made it to production – titled Downslope as well as God Fearing Man – and transform them into the basis for a new TV movie and series, respectively.
There are several eOne-backed series currently on the air, including AMC’s western Hell on Wheels and NBC’s Saving Hope. Kubrick’s own son-in-law, Philip Hobbs, is producing through his Philco Films, alongside Steve Lanning (In Deep). Adam Blumberg and Michael Rosenberg (Skins, Hung) will oversee the dual projects.
Written by Stanley Kubrick and based on a true story by Civil War historian Shelby Foote, TV movie ‘Downslope’ is an epic Civil War drama following the activities of Confederate Army Colonel John S. Mosby and his plot to settle the score after Custer captures and hangs several of his men.
Adapted for television by Brit screenwriter Stephen R. Clarke based on a screenplay by Kubrick, mini ‘God Fearing Man’ tells the true story of Canadian minister Herbert Emerson Wilson who became one of the best safe-crackers and most successful bank robbers in America in the early 20thcentury.
The History Channel recently achieved unprecedented ratings and critical success with its Kevin Costner post-Civil War mini-series Hatfields & McCoys, raising the bar for gritty western stories on the small screen. Meanwhile, Walking Dead TV series creator Frank Darabont is taking steps to bring an exhilarating new vision of the true-story crime drama sub-genre to television with the TNT show L.A. Noir.
Hence, it’s a good time for both Downslope and God Fearing Man to finally be brought to fruition, given the renewed interest in their respective subject matter. Considering their scripts were written by one of the most revered filmmakers of the 20th century (or, rather, of all time) is especially rich icing on the cake.
Hobbs previously had plans to transform Downslope into a $100 million historical epic for the big screen, while God Fearing Man was going to be realized as a $12 million television mini-series. Obviously, the former is going to be toned down in terms of scale and scope, so as to befit a more reasonable TV movie budget. God Fearing Man, however, may not be straying so far from Hobbs’ original vision of his father-in-law’s screenplay.
On that note – Steven Spielberg is the only filmmaker to date who has taken on an unfinished Kubrick-ian project with A.I. Artificial Intelligence; there, the final result was an intriguing (if flawed) amalgamation of the pair’s cinematic storytelling sensibilities. It will be interesting to see how Downslope and God Fearing Man turn out, if only to compare how different directors interpret Kubrick’s prose.