In 1999 Alan Ball burst onto the scene with his script for American Beauty, that "love it or hate it" suburban dark comedy/drama that earned Ball an Oscar and had everyone talking about him. He then took a lot of the same themes and arguably dug a lot deeper into them with the critically acclaimed TV series Six Feet Under, which dealt with death in a lot of ways most other shows and movies were afraid to.
However, Ball's most notable and widespread success is True Blood, the adult HBO vampire series which has almost as much critical praise lauded onto it as it has rabid fans. Ball has only ever directed one feature film before, the divisive Towelhead (a.k.a. Nothing Is Private) back in 2007, but it looks like we'll soon be getting another directorial effort from him.
Deadline is reporting that Ball will direct and produce an untitled dark comedy which will be written by Elan Mastai, which Paramount won after a bidding war for the project. Ball developed the idea alongside Mastai, although it's strange that he would choose to simply direct instead of co-writing the script as well. Perhaps Ball wants to concentrate on flexing his directing muscles with a feature film again, using someone else's script instead of his own.
Mastai has a few writing credits to his name including the Uwe Boll film Alone in the Dark, which regularly gets mentioned under the heading of "Worst movies of all time." So that credit doesn't exactly bode well for this new dark comedy, but Mastai has turned a lot of heads recently with his script for The F-Word, which appeared on the Hollywood "Black List" and is currently being developed into a movie with Casey Affleck as the lead.
Ball will produce the yet-to-be-titled film through his HBO-based company, Your Face Goes Here. Not much is known about the plot at this point but it's described by insiders as "a dark comedy with a twist." Just what that twist is is obviously widely open to interpretation, but since it comes from the mind of Ball I'm sure it will be something both provocative and dramatically compelling.
I'm a big fan of everything Ball's done up until this point (with the exception of Towelhead, which I've haven't watched) so I'm always interested to see what he does next. We'll obviously have to wait to find out what the plot of this new dark comedy is before we can judge it too much, but it already has me interested.