I don’t know about you, but James Gray‘s sci-fi epic Ad Astra is one of my most anticipated films of the year. I mean, Brad Pitt doesn’t just venture into space for anyone. I can’t say I love any of Gray’s films — his Blood Ties script is probably my favorite — but he hasn’t made a bad one either. And hopefully, Ad Astra will be his best yet. Either way, the director has signed on to a new project as he’ll step behind the camera for the indie drama Armageddon Time, it was announced Thursday at Cannes.
Gray will direct from his own screenplay, which is set in Gray’s hometown of Queens, New York in the mid-1980s. Rodrigo Teixeira (Call Me By Your Name) will produce via his RT Features banner. Casting is currently underway, and production is slated to start early next year in New York.
Gray first partnered with RT Features on Ad Astra, which co-stars Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland, and hits theaters in September. RT developed the film with Gray, who praised the company for its support. “RT Features is the best partner a director could ask for — they’ve got great taste, and they know how to support the filmmaker; I’m thrilled to be working with them again.”
Texeira called Armageddon Time an “intimate project” for Gray, who pitched him the idea during a lunch break on set of Ad Astra. According to the press release, the two bonded over movie trivia. I wonder if they’ve ever seen the Schmoedown?
Gray made his feature directorial debut with 1994’s Little Odessa before going on to direct four Joaquin Phoenix films — The Yards, We Own the Night, Two Lovers and The Immigrant. He also helmed The Lost City of Z starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland. According to the press release, Gray will next direct I Am Pilgrim for Matthew Vaughn’s Marv Films and MGM, but it’s difficult to picture him directing that film before Armaggeddon Time goes in early 2020, so perhaps that was a misprint? We’ll follow-up for further clarification. He’s represented by CAA, which also reps RT Features.
RT Features has three films premiering at Cannes this year — Danielle Lessovitz’s Port Authority and Karim Aïnouz’s Invisible Life in Un Certain Regard, and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, in Directors’ Fortnight.