Craig Gillespie’s career as a director has been an interesting one so far. He made the Ryan Gosling-starring indie drama Lars and the Real Girl, which was gutsy, unique, and acclaimed enough that you would think it would have been his first shot fired in a quick and easy takeover of the indie film world. But that’s not the story at all. Lars and the Real Girl wasn’t Gillespie’s debut film that we’re all eagerly awaiting a followup to, it was his second film, and it’s sandwiched in between the mainstream and pretty mediocre fare Mr. Woodcock and Fright Night (you know, the remake). What’s with the strange disparity? And what direction can we expect Gillespie’s career to take in the future? A new report from Variety might give us something of an idea.
Apparently the director is in talks to bring to the screen a Black List script (the yearly list of best unproduced screenplays) called Flamingo Thief. Penned by You, Me, and Dupree writer Michael LeSieur and adapted from a novel by Susan Trott, Flamingo Thief tells the story of a lawyer who becomes unhinged after being left by his wife, so he copes by stealing pink flamingo statues out of people’s yards. Despite the fact that his calendar is filled for the immediate future due to his commitments to Anchorman 2 and Three Mississippi, Will Ferrell is attached to star as said litigious thief.
Not only does this sound similar in theme to another film Ferrell starred in that started off as a Black List script, Everything Must Go, but it also sounds like the strange sort of character study that would look right at home sitting next to Lars and the Real Girl in a home video library. Given Ferrell and Gillespie’s experiences having success with similar material, one would imagine that whether or not Flamingo Thief comes together with these people involved will mostly come down to questions of salary and synching up schedules. If everything is kosher on those fronts, then everything here feels like a great fit.
The best part of this news isn’t just that we’ve got a promising-sounding new Will Ferrell movie on the horizon though, it’s the news that Gillespie is still in search of taking on overlooked and quirky stories that other directors might be afraid to touch. He showed such great promise with Lars and the Real Girl that it would have been a real shame if he just settled into the role of becoming a journeyman director, churning out whatever film the studios were willing to pay him to do next. Perhaps the news of Flamingo Thief being on the horizon points to the possibility that Gillespie will be taking a classic “one for them, one for me” approach to filmmaking, where he spaces his passion projects out evenly with surefire financial successes in order to keep everyone happy.
Or maybe Flamingo Thief’s status as a Black List script doesn’t necessarily point to the fact that it’s challenging material at all, and Ferrell’s star power just has everyone seeing dollar signs. Hopefully it’s the former, but it should be fun to see how this one plays out either way.