Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stephen Daldry's Fourth

British director Stephen Daldry has had a good run so far - 3 films (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader), 3 Best Director Oscar nominations & two Best Actress winners (Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet) - heavily aided by make up & complex, arguably supporting, literary roles.

Now Daldry is trying his hand at adapting Jonathan Safran Foer's inventive 9/11 novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

The big trick with Extremely Loud is pulling off the lead character, Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old amateur inventor, jewelry designer, astrophysicist, tambourine player and pacifist trying to find the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father who died in the 9/11 attacks. 

Daldry worked wonders with Jamie Bell in Billy Elliott, so he should be the right man to direct 12-year old Jeopardy! Kid's Week winner, Thomas Horn, as Oskar. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks plays Oskar's doomed father & Sandra Bullock wastes no time cashing in on her Oscar to play Oskar's grieving mother, although the really interesting parts are Oskar's odd, misfit grandparents, whose tragic story is told in flashbacks.   

Not sure who's playing who yet, but Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffery Wright, Max Von Sydow & James Gandolfini fill out the supporting cast.

The novel is highly stylised, so it will be interesting to see what Eric Roth does with the screenplay, but Daldry's instincts in adapting tricky novels have served him well so far.

Bullock and Daldry on set