A formidable ensemble is coming together for the next film from director Gus Van Sant. We previously learned that Joaquin Phoenix was set to star in Van Sant’s next project, a biopic of quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan called Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot. And now Variety reports that Oscar nominees Jonah Hill and Rooney Mara are in talks to join the cast.
Phoenix will play Callahan, a controversial figure who became paralyzed following a car accident at age 21. He turned to drawing as a form of therapy, and when his cartoons started appearing in the Portland newspaper Willamette Week, the town reacted with boycotts and protests. His work often dealt with macabre subjects, especially with regards to the disabled, and eventually found himself published in New Yorker, Penthouse, and Playboy.
It’s unclear who Hill and Mara would play, but Variety adds another twist to the project: Amazon Studios is looking like the frontrunner to land the distribution rights. Indeed, Amazon has emerged as a formidable Hollywood player and is currently in the heat of the Oscar race with Manchester by the Sea.
It’s been a while since Van Sant made a great film; his last feature, Sea of Trees, elicited a vitriolic reaction from critics and was barely released. But he’s still an interesting filmmaker and with a cast this great, it’s hard not to be excited about the project.
The film would mark a reunion of sorts for Phoenix and Mara, as the two just wrapped Mary Magdalene in which Phoenix plays Jesus and Mara plays the titular Biblical figure. As for Hill, he’s currently prepping his directorial debut Mid-90s and is poised to star opposite Emma Stone in the Cary Fukunaga-helmed Netflix series Maniac.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is coming together rather quickly, however, and could be going in front of cameras sooner rather than later.