Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, and Laura Dern have all reached deals to star in Noah Baumbach’s next film project. The movie is being both financed and distributed by Netflix, which also handled the release of Baumbach’s most recent directorial effort, The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected. Also onboard to star in the film are the youngster Azhy Robertson, who played an uncredited role in Johansson’s dark comedy Rough Night this past summer, and Merrit Wever, the Nurse Jackie alum who more recently portrayed Dr. Denise Cloyd (RIP) on The Walking Dead.
Plot details for Baumbach’s latest film are being kept under wraps for now, but it stands to reason that the indie auteur will continue his ongoing exploration of the lives of east coast intellectuals and artists here, in some capacity. While its awards seasons prospects are in question at the moment, in the wake of multiple sexual harassment accusations being levied against costar Dustin Hoffman, The Meyerowitz Stories has earned Baumbach some of the best reviews of his career and gotten his creative run with Netflix off to a strong start.
According to Variety, Baumbach will be the sole writer and director on his next film, like he was on The Meyerowitz Stories before it. As for Netflix, its decision to continue its relationship with Baumbach is an extension of the streaming service’s larger push to become a true powerhouse player in the filmmaking industry. The company has given both The Meyerowitz Stories and Dee Rees’ critical darling Mudbound a theatrical release in addition to streaming them, in order to allow them to qualify for Oscars consideration. It sounds like Netflix is already planning to do the same for Baumbach’s next venture too.
It’s not clear yet when production will begin on Baumbach’s next film, though the project will need to work around the busy schedules of its three A-list headliners. Driver and Dern both play key roles in this December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and are both expected to return for Star Wars: Episode IX, which director J.J. Abrams will start filming next June. Before then, however, Dern is going to reprise her Emmy winning role as Renata Klein in Big Little Lies season 2, now that HBO has elected to move forward with a second season of its Liane Moriarty novel adaptation.
Driver, when he’s not playing Kylo Ren, will continue to to work on indie and/or auteur driven fare, with upcoming roles in director Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (which, yes, has indeed finished production at long last) and Spike Lee’s latest provocative true story adaptation, Black Klansman (which is now filming). Johansson, for her own part, has yet to nail down what her first big role will be after she finishes filming on the third and fourth Avengers movies, so it’s possible that Baumbach’s film will serve as the followup to what could be the end of her run playing the superhero Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With an A-list cast in place and Netflix backing the whole enterprise, Baumbach’s latest project already sounds like one to keep an eye out for. In a time when it’s become harder and harder for non-mainstream films to find room to breathe in the increasingly crowded blockbuster playing field, it’s nice to know storytellers like Baumbach have something like Netflix in their corner.
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