When Animal Kingdom came out in June 2010 and the acclaim was building not only at home but also abroad for David Michôd's remarkable crime drama, the writer/director underwent full Hollywood immersion: he took the industry meetings, experienced talent dinners in Los Angeles, and tried to figure out what was legit and what was smoke. Afterwards he told me, “[Studios] need to make movies and they need those movies to make money, but the people running the studios want the movies made by good filmmakers. They'll try it on.”
Try it on they did, but Michôd (pictured) ultimately wasn't buying. After a long period of silence, which may have stoked the fears of some that he would end up directing something like a film about terrorists taking over the White House or a comic book adaptation, Michôd has announced that he'll be staying close to home. His next feature, The Rover, will shoot in Australia later this year, with Animal Kingdom's Joel Edgerton, who has since established an international profile through Warrior and The Thing prequel, playing a man determined to retrieve his stolen car, which contains something invaluable to him. (By the way, the terrorist take over the White House action thriller does exist. It's called Olympus Has Fallen and looks likely to be made by Training Day director Antoine Fuqua).
The ensemble cast is quickly filling out for The Poisoners, a black comedy about a group of women left to run a farming community in Britain during World War One with their only help being German prisoners of war. The agricultural wives will be played by Emily Watson (Oranges and Sunshine), Lena Headey (television's Game of Thrones), and Anna Friel (still searching for a decent credit), while their German counterparts will provide roles for Ken Duken (Inglourious Basterds), Hanno Koffler (The Red Baron), and Alexander Scheer (Carlos). The director is Jon Amiel (Entrapment, Creation).
Friel has another chance to improve her CV with The King of Soho, one of English director Michael Winterbottom's forthcoming features. The director, who also has an Indian-themed update of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles entitled Trishna out locally next month, is making a biopic about London porn baron Paul Raymond. Regular Winterbottom collaborator Steve Coogan (The Trip, 24 Hour Party People) will play Raymond, with Friel as his wife.
And the cause of that recent stampeding noise? It was filmmakers getting in queue to pitch their services as the director of Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, the dystopian blockbuster that is heading for half a billion dollars in box-office takings worldwide with little sign of slowing. The new film, which adds political dissent and rebellion to the idea of competitors struggling to stay alive in a cruel television competition, is scheduled for November 22, 2013, and that was too soon for Hunger Games director and co-writer Gary Ross. He pulled out, and after all involved complimented each other profusely, the hunt for a replacement has begun. Expect the list to be long, but David Michôd won't be on it.