If director Doug Liman gets his way, you should be hearing chants of “Attica! Attica!” everywhere you go in the near future. The director of Swingers, The Bourne Identity and other flicks is now moving into more serious territory with his eyes on directing a movie about the 1971 uprising at that New York state prison.
Working with a script from Precious:Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (man is that a long title) scribe Geoffrey Fletcher, Liman will re-create the four-day confrontation between prisoners and guards that capture the attention of the entire nation. For Liman, the project has a personal appeal, with his father, the late Arthur Liman, having served as chief counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica Prison and co-authored the commission’s report on the uprising.
Sounds like a perfect match of director and material to me. Hit the jump to hear more of what Liman had to say about the project and to find out what kind of spy games he’ll be getting up to even sooner.
In preparation for this project, Liman and Fletcher – nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Precious, and I’d have to imagine the favorite in that Oscar category – toured the notorious prison, and here’s what Liman had to say in a recent blog post about seeing the place where it all really got started:
“The rioters never succeeded in taking over cellblock z where the most hardened criminals are kept in solitary confinement. Had they succeeded, the devil would really have been out of the bag. The “box” was not really a relevant part of our tour, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to a morbid curiosity that drew me into that building. It did not disappoint.
This is how our guide put it: when you fuck up you go to prison, when you fuck up in prison they send you to Attica, and when you fuck up in Attica, they send you to cell block z. Prisoners are only allowed out one at a time, they are let out one hour a day, they must be shackled at all times when out of their cells. Up on the third floor a prisoner was about to be moved. In the rest of the prison, the inmates walk around lightly guarded, and the warden knew many of them by name and they all exchanged hello how are yous. Not so in the “box”. It was like the movement of Hannibal Lecter and we were ushered into a food prep alcove until the inmate was clear. Everyone seemed scared of him.”
I can already picture that in my mind, and if Liman gets this right, it should be a truly intense ride. In something we’ll be able to see much sooner, he has also recently wrapped Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as outed spy Valerie Plame and Sean Penn as her husband, Joseph Wilson. (via THR)