The career of filmmaker Oliver Stone has had more than its share of ups and downs over the years. The recipient of 3 Academy Awards to date, Stone’s high water mark seems to have hit from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. Following this period in which the somewhat avant-garde director gave audiences a string of hits like Platoon, JFK and Natural Born Killers, Stone’s work seemed to become less engaging and often failed to live up to the precedent set by his past successes.
With the release of this year’s Snowden biopic, however, Stone proved that he’s still a filmmaker with some chops and that he hasn’t lost the ability to take engaging, controversial topics and deliver them to the public. But throughout all the years where Oliver Stone has been making his films, very little has been said about either his work as a novelist or his son Sean, who's currently in the process of building up his own career as a filmmaker.
As reported by Deadline, Sean Stone has decided that it’s time to make both his filmmaking and his father’s written work a little more familiar to audiences everywhere. The 31-year-old Stone is set to take on both writing and directorial duties of A Child’s Night Dream – the film adaption of his father’s novel. While the novel was published in the late '90s, Stone actually wrote it when he was 19 and serving in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The book deals with the experiences Stone faced as a soldier, whereas his son’s movie will take place in the aftermath of 9/11. Said the younger Stone on the film’s main areas of focus:
“My own high school and early college years informed the script, and helped it evolve from the time period my father set it in. The themes included understanding my own relationship to my parents, my first crush and the backdrop of 9/11 and the Iraq War.”
This won’t be Stone’s first directorial effort, having previously co-directed the 2007 documentary Nuremberg: The 60th Anniversary Directors Cut as well as writing and directing the 2012 feature horror film Greystone Park. Stone says he’s been working on the script for A Child’s Night Dream since he was 15 years old. Aside from working as a writer/director, Sean Stone has also had roles in several of his father’s most famous films, such as Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July and Natural Born Killers.
The great advantage that Sean Stone has here is having a father like Oliver Stone to guide him through his writing process. Having been working on the script since his teens means he’s had ample feedback and help from his father. Greystone Park was not a success either commercially or critically, though it isn’t particularly fair to judge Stone’s filmmaking ability on his first feature film. However, if Stone can’t make at least some waves with A Child’s Night Dream, future interest in his ability as a filmmaker is likely going to suffer considerably.
Adapting your own father’s novel is probably the best position for a young filmmaker to be in. Understanding what’s at the heart of the story will come much easier for Sean Stone and when the film begins production next April, it will be interesting to see how the senior Stone’s input effects the material. Will Sean Stone’s own vision still manage to find its way through to audiences? That in itself just might be the most interesting thing about A Child’s Night Dream.