One of the more intriguing upcoming projects on the horizon for dedicated cinemaphiles is director Chan-wook Park's English-language debut, Stoker - and not just because screenwriter Wentworth Miller (star of Prison Break and Resident Evil: Afterlife) has already denied rumors that the film is a straightforward vampire horror tale. Or that it has anything to do with blood-suckers, implications of its title aside.
A handful of well-regarded actors are said to have been circling the mysterious male lead role in Stoker - including Oscar-winner Colin Firth and X-Men: First Class' Michael Fassbender. The role now looks to have been snagged by Watchmen star, Matthew Goode.
Variety has confirmed that Goode is in talks to play the lead in Stoker, a mysterious thriller about a teenage girl (Mia Wasikowska) who is in mourning for her recently-deceased father when an uncle (Goode) she never met before arrives to become her family's new patriarch. Bizarre events begin to occur thereafter, suggesting that Goode's character may not be all that he seems - hence the rumors about him secretly being a creature of the night.
Miller, however, has suggested that Stoker isn't merely a modernized take of sorts on Dracula; rather, he has likened the "not easy to describe" project to a Hithcockian thriller in the vein of Shadow of a Doubt, another horror-drama about the sudden appearance of a mysterious uncle in a young woman's life.
However, Stoker apparently goes off in "a very, very different direction" than Shadow does. Considering that Miller's screenplay was enough to attract the interest of Park (helmer of the "Vengeance Trilogy" and titles like I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK), that could mean something pretty interesting - or, rather, twisted - starts to go down.
Fan reactions to Goode's version of Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias in Watchmen generally seem to fall on the mixed to negative side, with the common complaint being that he is too obviously an ambiguous (read: semi-villainous) figure in the film. That's worth mentioning, simply because it sounds as though Goode's character in Stoker will be cut from a similar cloth (the charismatic but less-than-scrupulous type). All the same, much of Goode's Watchmen performance had to do with how Ozymandias was written - especially since Goode has proven himself to be a worthy actor in other, more independent projects before (see: Brideshead Revisited, A Single Man, The Lookout).
Potential quibbles about Goode aside, Stoker definitely sounds like a worthy title to keep an eye out for. With an interesting premise, stars like Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman as cast members, and Park at the helm, it could definitely turn out as quite the memorable psychological thriller. That idea would be all the more welcomed by Park fans, who want to see the director of cult titles like Oldboy and Thirst successfully burst onto the Hollywood scene.
There's no official release date yet for Stoker, but look for the film to hit theaters sometime in 2012.