It turns out that Zack Snyder is planning a reunion with his 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad and production company Hollywood Gang. Just not on the spin-off, 300: Battle of Artemisia, that is.
Snyder has instead cemented plans to direct a drama titled The Last Photograph, which is based on his own original idea and has been in development since 2007. The project was going to be helmed by Niels Arden Oplev (the Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo adaptation), but he ended up vacating the director’s chair, for undisclosed reasons.
Sean Penn and Christian Bale are attached to star in Last Photograph as a pair of men who “are inspired by a photograph to travel war torn Afghanistan.” Assuming everything goes according to plan, this will be Bale’s followup to The Dark Knight Rises and Penn’s next onscreen appearance, following his turn as “Jewish Mafia” gangster Mickey Cohen in Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad.
Last Photograph will be a change of pace for Snyder, who’s far better known for his style-over-substance popcorn flicks like the Dawn of the Dead remake – and especially his loyal comic book adaptations, 300 and Watchmen – rather than low-key dramas.
Snyder failed to draw in the masses earlier this year with the lackluster Sucker Punch (see above), which was also based on one of his original ideas. However, Last Photograph sounds like a less ambitious and more straightforward tale that will certainly benefit from having two Oscar-winning powerhouse actors in the forms of Penn and Bale onboard. It also stands to reason that this film will benefit from Snyder’ exaggerated visual sensibilities, especially when it comes to creating the war-torn setting (see the WWI-inspired sequence in Sucker Punch).
Can Snyder handle Last Photograph‘s more character-oriented narrative and not overshadow the personal elements of the story with his customary flashy style? It’s difficult to confidently say “yes” at this juncture, but perhaps he’ll surprise his detractors by delivering an excellent reboot of the Superman franchise – and then, turn around and release an engaging drama with awards potential. Crazier things have happened.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of The Last Photograph, as more information is released.