Philco Films is set to make three films based on scripts by the late legendary film-maker Stanley Kubrick: Civil War drama Downslope; Scarlett Johansson-starrer Lunatic At Large, and a TV series called God Fearing Man about a renowned bank robber.
Downslope will be a massive $100m project set during the American Civil War following the activities of Mosby’s Rangers involving spies and hanging on both sides of the war. Kubrick wrote the script based on a short story by renowned historian Shelby Foote.
“We are approaching A-list directors for the project because it is an A-list script,” says Steve Lanning, co-founder of Philco Films alongside longtime Kubrick collaborator Philip Hobbs (Kubrick’s son-in-law who also was a producer on Full Metal Jacket). “There are a couple of leading roles which we hope will be taken by A-list actors, but we need the director first.”
The plan is to shoot the film next year in Europe because Philco has already had a lot of interested from European financiers in the project and because the original US settings for the drama have changed dramatically, so shooting in Europe could work as a replacement.
With Steven Spielberg and Robert Redford’s Lincoln projects currently in development, Lanning was convinced now is a good time to work on a period film.
The second project on their slate is Lunatic At Large, based on a treatment written by pulp writer Jim Thompson, which Kubrick commissioned back in the 1950s, but never made after he was sidetracked by the success of Spartacus.
Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson are already attached to star in the project, which will tell the story of an ex-carnival worker and a barfly who strike up a relationship — although there are suspicions that one of them is an escapee from a mental asylum.
“We are debating whether to make it out of the US or Europe at the moment as there is interest from both sides,” Lanning tells Screen. British producer Charles Finch (Ghosts, Mutant Chronicles) and US producer Edward R Pressman (Wall Street) were originally attached to produce the project a few years back, but have since dropped out.
Meanwhile, Philco is due to go into production later this year with God Fearing Man, which will be a $12m TV series about the famous safebreaker Herbert Emerson Wilson who stole $16m from banks in the early 20th century.
Philco are looking for a leading director and cast for the project, which they hope to shoot in Europe, most likely Germany due to the tax breaks. They will also look to work with co-producers from Europe and either Canada or Australia.
British writer Stephen R Clarke, son of renowned sitcom writer Roy Clarke, is adapting the scripts for all three projects.