Well this is certainly an intriguing pairing. Joaquin Phoenix has become a notoriously picky actor as of late, and filmmaker Lynne Ramsay encountered troubles of the worst sort when she walked off the Western Jane Got a Gun on the first day of filming, but the undeniably talented duo are now aiming to team up for a highly promising project. Per ScreenDaily (via The Playlist), Phoenix is attached to star in an adaptation of the Jonathan Ames novella You Were Never Really Here, which Ramsay will write and direct.
The story revolves around a damaged war veteran who now works to rescue women from the sex trafficking trade. When an extraction of a girl from a Manhattan brothel goes south, “a storm of violence and corrupt power is unleashed against him, stirring a vengeance that may be his awakening.” That’s a massively exciting logline when factoring in the talents of Phoenix and Ramsay, and this has quickly become a must-see project.
Ramsay’s credits include 2002’s Morvern Callar and 2011’s phenomenal We Need to Talk About Kevin, and she was set to tackle the violent Western genre with the Natalie Portman-led Jane Got a Gun before creative disputes with producers bubbled to a head, leading to Ramsay departing the project just as filming was set to begin. While that development was certainly disappointing, it’s fantastic to see that she’s getting back in the game, and with someone as endlessly watchable as Phoenix in front of the camera.
The actor flirted with franchise fare recently by entering prolonged negotiations to star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange before ultimately deciding the project wasn’t for him. He led Woody Allen’s underrated Irrational Man last year and is set to star in Casey Affleck’s Western Far Bright Star, with a potential turn as Jesus in Mary Magdalene also on the horizon. You Were Never Really Here would definitely mark another swell entry on his fascinating resume, so here’s hoping the project materializes soon.