For some directors filmmaking is an addiction – they're permanently on the circuit of pre-production, shooting, post-production and promotion. But some of the most interesting figures work at their own pace, often not making a film for years due to disagreements over budget and intent or simply because they can't find the film that stirs something inside them. Whatever his reason, one long sabbatical is about to end. The English director Jonathan Glazer has only made two features, 2000's nightmarish crime flick Sexy Beast and 2004's icy, haunting tale of love and possession Birth, but now he's in post-production on his third picture.
Based on Michel Faber's novel, Under the Skin has a story that suggests a science-fiction thriller: an alien on Earth, who takes the form of a woman, eats human flesh while on a journey through Scotland. But in the same way that Sexy Beast is a hallucinatory journey through the gangster genre, Under the Skin promises to be a little more than a Species remake. “I think Jonathan [Glazer] would probably say it's a movie about an 'it' that becomes a 'she'. It's kind of impossible to describe,” the film's lead, Scarlett Johansson, recently commented. The American actress headlines a mostly Scottish cast, which includes co-star Paul Brannigan, who only made his film debut this year with Ken Loach's The Angels' Share.
Johansson, still just 28-years-old, appears to have settled into a pattern of alternating her Avengers character Black Widow, who will return to the Marvel blockbuster universe in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and 2015's Avengers sequel, with independent roles. Recently she played Psycho actress Janet Leigh to Anthony Hopkins' legendary director in Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock, and she's just finished shooting Don Jon's Addiction, the writing and directing debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper, The Dark Knight Rises), who will play a porn addict looking to right himself opposite Johansson and Julianne Moore (Crazy, Stupid, Love). On second thoughts, maybe Black Widow should be in Don Jon's Addiction.
Tarzan vamps it up
Next unnecessary reboot: English director David Yates, who helmed the final four Harry Potter movies, is at work on a Tarzan movie. Favourite for the king of the jungle, at this early stage, is Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, a television vampire via True Blood and the only actor to be in both Peter Berg's Battleship and Lars von Trier's Melancholia.
Mexican marriage writes itself off
The Spanish actress Veronica Echegui (My Names is Juani, Kathmandu Lullaby), who was briefly in Australia this week to promote the La Mirada Film Festival, is literally halfway through shooting an adaptation of Mexican novelist Jose Agustin's 1982 work Deserted Cities (Ciudades Desiertas). Echegui flew to Australia from the Canadian leg of the shoot, and was heading on to Mexico for the second half. The plot has the wife of an intellectual and sometimes vituperative Mexican couple walking out on her husband to attend a writer's workshop in the United States, only for him to pursue her to the foreign – in many ways – land. Opposite Echegui is the esteemed Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal (Babel, The Motorcycle Diaries) with Roberto Sneider (Tear This Heart Out) directing.