Filmmaker John Lee Hancock most recently helmed a film about the true story behind the making of Mary Poppins, and now he’s setting his sights on the creation of a fast food empire. THR reports that the Saving Mr. Banks director is in talks to helm The Founder for FilmNation and the Combine, which will tell the story of how salesman Ray Kroc acquired the McDonald’s restaurant and turned it into a billion dollar empire. An inspiring rags-to-riches story this is not, as Kroc stumbled upon a small burger operation run efficiently by brothers Mac and Dick McDonald in Southern California, then maneuvered himself to a position from which he was able to pull the company away from the brothers and enjoy the profits. More after the jump.
Per THR, The Founder has a screenplay by Big Fan and The Wrestler scribe Robert Siegel and is described as being akin to The Social Network and There Will Be Blood. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything in Hancock’s filmography that signals he can turn this kind of dark drama into something special, but the story has major potential so I’ll be curious to see what his take on it entails.
Variety adds to the story by noting that Hancock had been pursued to direct by FilmNation before, also approaching Tom Hanks to star as Kroc. Both passed at the time, but it’s unclear if Hanks may change his tune now that Hancock has entered negotiations. Additionally, Michael Keaton was apparently chasing the role of Kroc as well, but he wanted to see who would be directing before making an official commitment. Since Hancock’s attachment is a new development, it remains to be seen if Hanks or Keaton will spark to this iteration of the project.
Hancock most recently attached himself to helm an untitled Lenny Dykstra biopic about the New York Mets player, putting the The Rookie and The Blind Side director back in familiar territory, but he has yet to firm up a follow-up project to Saving Mr. Banks. Should The Founder gain traction now that he’s coming aboard, it could settle into first position.