xThomas Haden Church landed an Oscar nomination for his (in this writer's opinion) hilarious turn in the film Sideways back in 2004, which helped pave the way for his being cast as Sandman in Sam Raimi's third Spider-Man movie.
The actor has since stuck to supporting roles and will continue to do so in two upcoming movies: the dark comedy Killer Joe and director Cameron Crowe's adaptation of the true-life story We Bought a Zoo.
Church will join Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe, a Noirish comedy that revolves around a brother and sister who hire a contract killer/detective (McConaughey) to murder their mother. William Friedkin (The Exorcist) is directing the film, which was scripted by Pulizter Prize-winner Tracy Letts, based off her original play of the same name.
Emile Hirsch (Milk) will star as the brotherly half of the devious siblings, whose father will be played by Church. Killer Joe has assembled a decent collection of actors so far and has the potential to be an entertainingly macabre hit-man comedy - or it could just fall flat. We will just have to wait and see how it all pans out.
We Bought a Zoo
Cameron Crowe's last directorial effort, Elizabethtown, was coolly received by both critics and general moviegoers back in 2005. The Almost Famous filmmaker is set to at last return to the director's chair for We Bought a Zoo, which Thomas Hayden Church has also signed up for.
Crowe's upcoming project is based off Benjamin Mee's novel, which tells the story of how the widowed author and his children moved to the English countryside, purchased a rundown zoo, and began to run it as a family business. Matt Damon will play Mee in the film, which is slated to begin production in early 2011.
We Bought a Zoo is the kind of unusual real-life story that could be a nice fit for Crowe's sensibilities as a director - if nothing else, the film's soundtrack should feature an excellent, eclectic mix of songs, similar to those from Crowe's previous movies.
Both Killer Joe and We Bought a Zoo should reach theaters by 2011.