Mudbound director Dee Rees will be teaming up with Netflix yet again for her next directorial project. The streaming service will distribute the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker's adaptation of Joan Didion's novel The Last Thing He Wanted.
With Anne Hathaway already cast in the lead role back in February, The Last Thing He Wanted follows a journalist named Elena McMahon (played by Hathaway) whose career takes a decidedly abrupt turn when she inherits her father's job title as an arms dealmaker. Her unexpected career turn introduces McMahon to a dangerous world of arms and drugs trading, transporting her into the throes of trafficking with the Iran-Contra Affair. Though no other casting news has been announced, Rees will co-write the screenplay with Marco Villalobos, and will produce alongside Cassian Elwes. Now, Netflix has officially climbed aboard to distribute the movie.
Following the success of Rees' four-time Oscar-nominated adaptation of Hillary Jordan's Mudbound (Rees shared her Adapted Screenplay nomination with co-screenwriter Virgil Williams), Netflix will team up with the filmmaker yet again to distribute The Last Thing He Wanted, according to THR. Netflix film group head Scott Stuber spoke highly of Rees, praising her as an "incredibly talented filmmaker" whose "provocative" style of filmmaking has encouraged their interest in continuing their collaboration.
Though Mudbound didn't win in any of its nominated categories at the 2018 Academy Awards, the nominations alone were milestones in and of themselves. Rachel Morrison became the first woman to receive a nomination for Best Achievement in Cinematography and Mary J. Blige became the first person to be nominated for both Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song). Now, with two-time Academy Award-nominated actress Hathaway, Rees and Netflix may well be in line for another busy awards season.
Despite the streaming service's massive popularity, Netflix has received some negative criticism recently. Apart from having their movies banned at the Cannes Film Festival, Steven Spielberg spoke out against Netflix being eligible for Academy Award nominations. That said, he was not implying the streaming service should be completely exempt from awards altogether, but that they should be recognized at the Emmys, not the Oscars, given that their movies aren't typically shown in theaters. So, to combat the growing stance against Netflix and awards consideration, Netflix has considered purchasing theaters in which their movies will play in order to qualify for the Oscars. Instead of risking the potential of losing out on nominations and wins (they won their first Oscar for the feature length documentary Icarus), Netflix is willing to expand significantly.