Wally Pfister, the cinematographer of several of Christopher Nolan's films, the Italian Job remake and Lisa Cholodenko's Laurel Canyon, is gearing up to make his directorial debut. Jack Paglen's screenplay is reportedly some kind of contemporary sci-fi piece, and Deadline are calling it Transcendence.
At the moment, Johnny Depp is wrapping up negotiations to take the lead role, apparently in return for a $20 million limp and 15% of the gross. I think Depp could turn in a solid performance at the centre of a hurricane so it doesn't matter much, on his front at least, if Pfister turns out to be a truly horrendous director of actors.
The deal appears to be all but wrapped up, with Pfister issuing a statement that calls Depp:
a creative and intelligent artist whom I feel will bring great depth to the character and the overall narrative.
Over at The Hollywood Reporter they have a list of the other actors that Pfister is shopping for: Noomi Rapace has met with him, James McAvoy and Tobey Maguire are in contention for another lead part, and Christoph Waltz has actually been made an offer.
I've been trying hard to not mention Pfister here for a week now, since a Huffington Post interview with the man shovelled up this quote:
I thought The Avengers was an appalling film. They'd shoot from some odd angle and I'd think, why is the camera there? Oh, I see, because they spent half a million on the set and they have to show it off. It took me completely out of the movie. I was driven bonkers by that illogical form of storytelling.
Which is just bloody ridiculous. There's not a single shot in The Avengers where the attempt at storytelling, at the very least, isn't traceable. There's not a single bit of camera placement or lens choice in the film that doesn't have some practical, functional, narrative or thematic relevance.
Sure, some of the shots fall noticeably short. Some. A handful maybe.
Meanwhile, Pfister wallows in the sideshow nonsense of audience-prodding aspect ration changes, to mention just the most obvious of his aesthetic indulgences.
If it's coming down to it, I'm team Joss.