Former indie auteur David Gordon Green’s jump to the big time started off with such promise.
Let’s take a little time travel trip! 2008’s Pineapple Express caught Seth Rogen and James Franco just as the weirdo lovefest that is their comedic team-up was really taking off (with Freaks & Geeks behind them and The Interview way out in the future, it was kind of the perfect opportunity to see what these two could do – which is be weird and lovable and funny with the best of them). The follow-up wasn’t quite as glorious, as 2011 marked a low point in Green’s humorous output (this is a sentiment expressed with admiration and respect, as my DGG fandom has been well-documented in this space), with both Your Highness and The Sitter performing poorly in the domestic market and, uh, also just not being very good.
Things have been looking up, however, thanks to Green’s recent edging back into less slapstick fare, with 2013 seeing the release of both the darkly amusing Prince Avalanche and the just damn dark Joe. Oh, and the major star power behind each film hasn’t hurt – which is probably why Green is just going with it, casting some mega stars for his next slew of features.
Joe featured a powerhouse performance from Nicolas Cage, the kind that reminded the world, “oh, hey, this guy can act” (there is no word on if that same talent will appear in Left Behind, but we can’t wait to find out). Prince Avalanche boasted a future Marvel star in Paul Rudd. Even Green’s misfires have been peppered with big names, from Jonah Hill to Franco and Rogen (when will they just start going by “Franco & Rogen”? soon, right?).
Green’s latest, Manglehorn, marks his first outing with Al Pacino, who stars in the film as the eponymous anti-hero, a locksmith who choose crime over love and has paid the price ever since. Pacino – a big enough name on his own – is joined by Holly Hunter, Chris Messina and Harmony Korine, all of whom tout a different level of star power, but the kind that round this thing out nicely. The film will debut at the Venice International Film Festival next month, followed by inclusion in TIFF just days later.
Back in January, Chris Pine signed on for Green’s The Line, a crime drama about a border patrol agent. How much bigger can you get than Captain Kirk?
But what Green really needs is a big-time female star to push his new bent towards casting major stars right over the edge. And who is the biggest female star in the world? No, not that one. Not her. Oh, yup, you’ve got it: Sandra Bullock. Variety reports that Bullock has signed on for Green’s Our Brand is Crisis, another dramatically-bent feature we didn’t even know the guy was making (which seems to happen a lot with the guy). Based on Rachel Boynton’s 2006 documentary, the political dramedy focuses on political strategists in the midst of U.S. election time. Bullock has reportedly been circling the project for some time, as has Green, and the duo have finally ironed out the details of what their film will look like.
Green has a number of other films in various stages of pre-production, including a new take on Little House on the Prairie (which could boast some solid kid stars), his take on Evan Mandery’s novel Q and even a John Grisham adaption with The Innocent Man (if there’s one thing John Grisham movies need, it’s big stars). Roll out the casting.