Stephen Gaghan is the Oscar-winning screenwriter responsible for penning Steven Soderbergh's Drug War drama Traffic, as well as the true story-inspired oil industry drama-thriller Syrianna (which he also directed). Gaghan developed the pilot for an LA crime series titled S.I.L.A. last year, but his next major undertaking looks to be the feature-length crime-thriller, Candy Store.
The filmmaker began his career squeezing new life out of pulpy material, with his writing work on the television series New York Undercover and American Gothic, as well as the Katie Holmes thriller Abandon (Gaghan also directed the latter). Candy Store reads as a marriage between Gaghan's crime genre exercises and his more recent politically-charged efforts, judging by insider descriptions.
Lionsgate is planning to back Candy Store, but the project is only in the preliminary stages of development right now. Gaghan's last theatrical release was Syrianna back in 2005; he did, however, work on the 2011 TV movie, Metro. More recently, Gaghan was recruited by M. Night Shyamalan to do a significant rewrite on Gary Whitta's screenplay for the filmmaker's After Earth.
THR says that Candy Store (based on Gaghan's script, which he is directing) is a "'two-hander' crime thriller" that features two actor-friendly lead roles. However, it revolves primarily around a "highly trained deep-cover operative" who attempts to start life over as a cop in Brooklyn. The protagonist eventually realizes that the illicit "global organization" he's spent years battling has a base of operations in his new home.
Syrianna featured a cast ripe with big names and revered acting talent, including Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, Jeffrey Wright, Christoper Plummer, and George Clooney in an Oscar-winning role. Candy Store has likewise caught the eyes of power players Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington, with Jamie Foxx also said to be interested in one of the central roles (though, the former two seem more likely to strike a deal).
Pitt has been working on Ridley Scott's The Counselor and Steve McQueen's Twelve Years a Slave in recent months; he has reshoots for World War Z later this fall, but the A-lister's schedule is mostly clear thereafter. Washington begins filming The Equalizer early next year, but will afterwards be available to go to Gaghan's Candy Store (couldn't resist). That's to say: this team-up could very well happen; not to mention, Candy Store could also prove to be the rare star-studded, character-driven, action flick with a capable storyteller like Gaghan at the helm.
Both Pitt and Washington have awards-hopeful projects arriving during the final third of 2012, in the forms of Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly and Robert Zemeckis' Flight. We will let you know if either or both of the pair sign up for Candy Store.