THE NINTH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX by Liz Jensen

Though Jamie Dornan will soon be seen taking care of business and (literally) cracking the whip as a young entrepreneur with an exceptionally active social life over at Fifty Shades of Grey, he’s signed up for a bit of a fictional career change as he joins the cast of Alexandre Aja‘s The Ninth Life of Louis Drax.

The film, an adaptation of a best-selling novel by Liz Jensen, follows a nine-year-old boy named Louis Drax who is a little different than the other kids. Brilliant, but perceived as weird, Louis always seems to have something terrible happen to him — and his ninth birthday is no different. He suffers a massive fall that nearly takes his life, and there are no details to shed light on how or why the incident occurred. Dornan steps in as Dr. Allan Pascal, a physician who is drawn to Drax’s peculiar case.

Drax is a psychological thriller, in which those mysterious circumstances surrounding his fall are most likely a little more fantastical than just a clumsy kid fooling around near a high ledge. The script is being penned by actor Max Minghella (The Internship, The Social Network), who isn’t just making his debut as a screenwriter with the film; his father, the late writer and director Anthony Minghella, first optioned Drax in 2004 with Sydney Pollack at the helm. The younger Minghella is writing his own adaptation separate from the elder’s interpretation, but it will be interesting to see if he keeps any elements of his father’s vision as an homage or nod to his work.

Aja’s resume of creepy and paranoid thrillers includes MirrorsThe Hills Have Eyes, High Tension and the upcoming Horns and suggests he’s capable of bringing to life the story of a child searching for answers in an increasingly strange world. Aja knows how to craft a film that delivers fantasy elements and palpable distress; this will have a large supply of both. 

And while it’s easy to resign Dornan to his Fifty Shades role, even though the film hasn’t debuted (it’s just so ubiquitous), his previous work on Once Upon a Time and The Fall are perfect precursors to playing Dr. Pascal. One is an over-the-top fantasy full of familiar characters, and the other, a psychological thriller about a serial killer hunted by a a talented detective. He might be Christian Grey, but his skill set isn’t exactly black and white. While Fifty Shades is poised to be his “big break,” it’s promising that he has work lined up that assures it’s not the only performance we’ll see from him soon.


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