While Noah Hawley has yet to make a theatrically released feature film, he’s essentially already been making movies on the small screen. Hawley spearheaded the FX anthology series Fargo to massive critical acclaim, but the first two seasons feel more like long movies rather than episodic TV series. And with Legion, Hawley’s new X-Men series on FX, the writer/director took his visual talents to new (and trippy) heights. Now, per Deadline, Hawley is poised to make the “filmmaker” thing official as he has signed on to direct the Fox Searchlight sci-fi film Pale Blue Dot, which has Reese Witherspoon attached to star and produce.
Pale Blue Dot is an original sci-fi film based on a spec script by Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi that tells the story of an astronaut who, upon returning to Earth from a mission in space, “begins to slowly unravel and lose touch with reality.” Witherspoon would play the lead role, and the story of someone losing their grip certainly fits Hawley’s brand of storytelling.
But that’s not all! Hawley is also developing another Fox Searchlight project that’s more in the nascent stages of development. He’s producing a film based on the Lake Buried Bodies Case from the mid-1970s called Buried Bodies. That drama tells the real-life story of two lawyers who held fast to their attorney-client privilege as their client, an accused murderer, revealed to them the location of the bodies of two additional missing persons. Faced with an ethical dilemma, they opted not to break privilege and reveal this to the police until the killer escaped prison, at which point they were ostracized by the community.
Pale Blue Dot sounds more in the vein of Legion, while Buried Bodies sounds like it could be a season of Fargo. Both are mighty enticing projects, especially once you bring Hawley’s talent into the fold. He is truly a singular storyteller, as Legion has only shown his versatility as a filmmaker and commitment to stretching the limits of what a TV series is supposed to be.
After Fargo broke out big on FX Hawley signed on to develop a few other projects, including a limited series adaptation of the Kurt Vonnegut book Cat’s Cradle, but those have yet to come to fruition. Hawley is currently filming the third season of Fargo which has Ewan McGregor starring, and assuming Legion continues to pull in a solid audience, he’ll no doubt be back to spearhead the second season of that show. When he’ll find the time to make Pale Blue Dot is unclear, but I can’t wait to see it.