Hollywood mainstay Philip Seymour Hoffman (My Boyfriend’s Back) is one of the best loved actors working today. Not only has he established himself as a strong character actor over the course of his prolific career, but over the past decade or so he has also proven that he has what it takes to be a leading man. And his latest starring vehicle, The Master, just opened this past weekend and broke some per screen average records at the box office. It’s safe to say that his legacy has been solidified as far as being a thespian goes (barring a De Niro-esque slide into late-career self-parody).
As a director though, the man’s career is fledgling. So far he’s stepped behind the camera just once, for 2010’s Jack Goes Boating, a film that didn’t exactly tear it up either critically or commercially. It looks like he’s getting another chance to prove that he’s just as vital a presence behind the scenes as he is at the center of the scenes, however, as Variety is reporting that he’s just signed on to direct a 2011 Black List script called Ezekiel Moss (written by Keith Bunin).
Set during the depression, Ezekiel Moss is a ghost story of sorts, about a small boy from a small town who befriends a mysterious drifter who may or may not be able to communicate with the dead. The boy is said to be very imaginative, and drifters have a reputation for being less than forthright, so the legitimacy of the talking to the dead claims are likely to be in dispute, at least for a while.
Cathy Schulman of Mandalay Pictures is one of the film’s producers, and she says of the choice to put Hoffman in the director’s chair, “Hoffman is one of the great talents of our generation. We are thrilled to be in his capable hands directing this captivating and gothic exploration of faith and the supernatural.” Maybe she has a point. Hoffman appeared to be very in tune with faith and spirituality during his recent performance as a religious leader The Master. And he proved in Happiness that he certainly understands how to make things creepy. If he’s able to bring those perspectives to his take on this supernatural material, we may all be in for a skin-crawling treat.