Martin McDonagh is a brilliant writer. The British playwright first established himself in the world of theater with critically acclaimed stage plays including The Leanne Trilogy, The Pillowman and The Cripple of Inishmaan, before breaking into the film scene with his Academy Award-winning short Six Shooter. McDonagh launched off the success of his short film to turn out the fantastic pitch-black comedy In Bruges and the flawed, but still delightful Seven Psychopaths.
For those of us who’ve been waiting with baited breath to hear about McDonagh’s next film, good news — he’s got a script, he’s got a leading lady, and he’s looking to move into production next year. Speaking with The Guardian about his latest stage play Hangmen, McDonagh revealed that Frances McDormand is set to star in his next film, tenatively titled Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
McDonagh described the plot:
“It’s about a 50-year-old woman whose daughter is murdered and she goes to war with the police in her home town, because she thinks they are more interested in torturing black people than getting justice.”
It’s certainly a topical storyline, though McDonagh says he penned the script about four years ago, and I could see it gaining major traction with an actress of McDormand’s caliber in the lead.
McDonagh also spoke about the difficulty of transitioning from theater to film, specifically during his experience on In Bruges:
I had to become a director to protect the scripts. Seven Psychopaths wasn’t so bad, but In Bruges was relentless and exhausting. I had to deal with them [Focus Films, the production company]trying to change anything they could change. And Focus are supposed to be supportive, indie-filmmaker-friendly people. Scumbags. It was constant war, but they never won.”
During his promotional rounds for Seven Psychopaths, McDonagh told Steve that a new film once every four years is his ideal speed, and a 2016 start date for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri puts him right on track. While it’s an unfortunate waiting period for those of us who love his work and can’t afford to hop across the pond to catch his stage shows, hopefully working at his own pace ensures he continues to deliver films on par with the quality of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. And hey, studios, let McDonagh do his thing. He’s really good at it.