Filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson has found himself smack dab in the middle of the awards conversation for Best Director, but the helmer behind the critically acclaimed Brie Larson-fronted drama Room is already lining up his next project. Per Deadline, Abrahamson has signed on to direct a movie about the life of boxer Emile Griffith, who is best known for beating to death Benny “The Kid” Paret during a live nationwide TV broadcast in 1962. Paret had previously taunted Griffith at the weigh in by grabbing his behind and calling him a homosexual, but in truth Griffith was a closeted bisexual and clearly took great offense. The event haunted Griffith for the rest of his life.
Abrahamson, who also directed 2014’s wonderfully odd Frank which starred Michael Fassbender as an eccentric band frontman who always wears a giant mask, has teamed up with producer Ed Guiney of Element Pictures and Film4 to option Donald McRae’s book A Man’s World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith and plans to make the movie as soon as possible.
It’s a fascinating subject to be sure, and one that speaks to Abrahamson’s sensibilities as a director. With Frank he proved he’s adept at bringing humanity and empathy to outsiders or oddballs, and with Room—for which he could very well become a Best Director Oscar nominee—Abrahamson handled troubling subject matter with sensitivity and grace. One imagines he has a very specific, not to mention solid, angle on Griffith’s story that will make for an engrossing film. With the heat on him for Room, here’s hoping Abrahamson gets to make this project soon.