Serena, Honest Abe, Rising Knights, Multiple Malicks and The Master On Tap

Quite an unusual docket is shaping up for 2012, 2013 and beyond.  Despite the usual shit Hollywood shovels, there are some upcoming films worth talking about.

First up on the horizon is the new news around the film adaptation of Ron Rash’s Serena, which ranks as one of my favorite novels of this century and I instantly imagined as a There Will Be Blood meets Macbeth in the Carolina Highlands film epic.  Originally, and promising though preditable, Darren Aronofsky had been on tap to direct with Angelina Jolie in the lead role.  But now the tides have shifted, and Oscar winner Susanne Bier is taking the helm.  It’s definitely out of Bier’s comfort zone, but if handled right, it could be a breakthrough for the Danish director and she definitely has the chops to put on an interesting spin – but it could also be a disaster. 

Can Jennifer Lawrence transform into the menacing Serena Pemberton?

Even more inspired is the choice of Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role.  She seems way too young, but as Winter’s Bone showed, she’s capable of being a true chameleon while getting down and dirty, and along with Bier, she has the opportunity to really turn heads here.  Less inspired and downright troubling is the casting of no-talent ass-clown Bradley Cooper, a smug comedic actor who lacks the gravitas needed for playing George Pemberton.  Maybe the idea is to cast someone like him so that Lawrence can really shine – but it’s a gamble – and it will be interesting to see if it pays off.

On the more immediate horizon is the idiotically clever Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter – also based on a popular book and set up to be a summer 2012 tent pole film.   I gotta say this ridiculous thing looks like it has the potential to be hugely entertaining – history be damned.  Check out the slick trailer below:

This, of course, is not to be confused with Steven Spielberg’s upcoming biopic Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role and on course for an end of the year Oscar run.  This thing just oozes prestige and Day-Lewis has gotta knock this out of the park.

Daniel Day-Lewis' Abe is no vampire hunter, I assure you.

Now on to upcoming projects from some of my favorite working directors…

Also this summer there is a little film you may have heard of from a chap named Christopher “Fritz” Nolan.  Something about a dark knight rising from the grave?  Is this, like Honest Abe Bloodsucker Puncher, a horror film?  I jest, of course.  Is it too early to buy advance tickets for this?

Then we have – Sweet Zeus’ Ghost !- not one, not two – but three, count ’em three upcoming films from the once reclusive Terrence “T-Bone” Malick.  First up is an unnamed meditation on adultery in 1950’s Texas starring Ben Affleck (yuck) and Rachel McAdams (double yuck).  Principal photography has long since been completed so we might see this by the end of the year though my betting money would be on a Cannes 2013 premier. 

The only image we have thus far from Malick's next film...

Then there is a mirrored set of films starring a revolving door of Oscar winners like Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale (among others) titled Lawless and Knight of Cups.  Oh, wait, and did I forget about the documentary Voyage of Time – allegedly made of extended creation and destruction sequences from The Tree of Life? Yeah, we might finally get to see that too in our lifetime!

Then, last, but certainly not least – bright on my radar – is Paul Thomas “I Drink Your Milkshake” Anderson’s The Master – a thinly veiled exploration of the leader of a Scientology-like cult starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix.  We might see this by year’s end, too (totally stoked!) – lest the Mayan Apocalypse takes us out (total bummer!). 

Some things I’m left wondering about…will we ever see an adaptation of Irene Nemirovsky’s Suite Francaise get off the ground?  And isn’t it about time for a new spin on Dracula?  In the wake of Twilight – it seems vampires need to be put back in the proper darkness, dontcha think?

Written by David H. Schleicher

What films bubbling on the horizon are you most intrigued by?



  1. Bier helming SERENA, eh? Wow. Well, as you say David, it could end up either way. She’s done some fine work, but this may indeed be outside her comfort zone. I wouldn’t be too chagrined by the prospects of the Malick film because of those two actors. he has a way of using people as pawns in his vision. Either way I am thrilled at the prospects of three films from this resurrected artist.

    And the Spielberg Abe Lincoln with Day-Lewis does indeed look like a potential grand slam.

    Things are looking up.

    Sam – I’m very cautious about the whole Serena film project – it’s a book written in grand cinematic style – but it could easily be botched in translation to screen. I agree with what you say about Malick – the cast is near irrelevant in a Malick film. –DHS

  2. Good list! I think 2012 has the potential to be a really amazing movie year.
    Other things I’m looking forward to:
    Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom
    Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress
    John Hillcoat’s The Wettest County
    Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmasters (surely by now…right?)
    Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained
    Andrew Dominik’s Coogan’s Trade
    Jeff Nichols’ Mud
    Anlfonso Cuaron’s Gravity
    David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis

    plus there’s a bunch more from festivals and so forth…

    Stephen – it’s nice to see Stillman got back on the horse. What happened to Andrew Dominic’s Blonde project? –DHS

  3. I read Nemirovsky’s Suite francaise in French, understanding 50-75% of it, depending on the phrases, and felt super proud of myself. Then I bought it in English and realized I understood even less than I previously thought. That could be an interesting film.

    This year is all about Prometheus … there is so much in my universe riding on this one.

    Funny – didn’t realize you were such a big Ridley Scott fan – ha ha ha! Prometheus indeed! Oh – and funny too about the Nemirovsky bit – I plan on reading my French copy as soon as I am through all five levels of Rosetta Stone – consider it my final test! –DHS

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