One of the most exciting young filmmakers working today just added another potential project to his docket. While Cary Fukunaga broke out in a big way after helming all eight episodes of True Detective, he was already doing stellar work on the big screen with his first two features, Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre. After True Detective, he shot the child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation with Idris Elba, which is set to premiere on Netflix as the streaming service’s first entry into awards season fare.
And now Fukunaga is teaming up with the fine folks at A24 to develop and direct an untitled drama from Brokeback Mountain screenwriters Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana. The film is based on the true story of Oregonian father and son Joe and Jadin Bell. Jadin, an openly gay 15-year-old, took his own life as a sophomore in high school after being bullied at school and struggling for acceptance from the people closest to him. Joe subsequently plunged into a depression filled with remorse and regret, and in an attempt to work through his grief, set out on a walk across America to promote awareness about the consequences of prejudice.
This is the first project that A24 will develop from script to screen, as the relatively new studio has mostly been in the business of acquiring films from the festival scene. They’ve built up a stellar and varied roster thus far, releasing films like Under the Skin, The Spectacular Now, and Spring Breakers, and their 2015 slate includes the superb Ex Machina, the wonderful While We’re Young, and the touching David Foster Wallace film The End of the Tour. I’m eager to see what a 100% A24 developed film looks like, and I imagine they couldn’t have found a better partner than Fukunaga.
The filmmaker is currently in pre-production on the first installment of a two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It, which he will shoot this summer. He’s also attached to direct and produce a miniseries called The Alienist, so it may be some time before he moves to this untitled project—though this kind of character drama sounds like it’s right up his alley.
A24 is producing with Fukunaga’s Parliament of Owls production company, Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Riva Marker of Red Crown Productions, and Eva Maria Daniels of VisionChaos Productions. Red Crown’s Daniel Crown will executive produce.