It looks like the Gus Van Sant-directed drama starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski now has a title and a distributor. Known as Promised Land, Focus Features and Participant Media had the winning bid for the project co-written by the two stars. Although it was originally meant to be Damon’s directorial debut, scheduling conflicts prevented it. Promised Land stars Damon as a sales executive whose arrival in a small town turns his life upside down. Krasinski will play a rival corporate executive.
Also acquired today by Sony Pictures Classics was the Marion Cotillard-starrer Rust & Bone by director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet). The project is an adaptation from a book of shot stories by Craig Davidson. Hit the jump to check out more from both projects.
Yesterday, we reported that Matt Damon had backed out of directing the untitled script he had co-written with John Krasinski, but the two would remain on board to co-star. Today, The Playlist reports and Deadline confirms that Gus Van Sant has stepped in to replace Damon. The “Capra-esque” tale has Damon and Krasinski playing corporate executives. When Damon’s character arrives in a small town, he begins to seriously reexamine his life. Krasinski originally paid Dave Eggers (Away We Go) to write the first draft, and then teamed up with Damon when Eggers was unavailable to do further work on the script. The project can now move forward again with Van Sant on board, but there’s no guarantee that Warner Bros. will make the movie. However, the process of setting the $15 million budget will begin next week.
Hit the jump for more.
Matt Damon had been prepping for his untitled directorial debut, but it looks like he’s left that chair behind. The star had already begun casting and had brought Frances McDormand on to co-star. He had also spoken about being inspired by his previous directors and his excitement about getting behind the camera. However, we’ve now learned that Damon will no longer direct but may still star in the film. According to Vulture, Damon and co-writer and co-star John Krasinski were being “precious” about the script, which is based on a story idea by Dave Eggers and centers on a traveling salesman whose arrival in a small town causes him to seriously reexamine and change his life.
It’s a bit puzzling that Damon wouldn’t be happy enough with the script to direct, but he likes it enough to stay attached to star. It’s not the payday since the movie has a low budget ($12 million), so perhaps he’s willing to give up the director’s chair to someone who can find a way to make the script work. Either way, don’t count this project as dead since the talent on board should draw someone worthwhile to the helm.
I am excited to see what Matt Damon can do as a director. Over the past couple years, he has often spoken of his aspirations to direct after a decade plus working with the greats: Martin Scorsese, the Coen brothers, the Stevens (Spielberg and Soderbergh), Paul Greengrass, to name a few. In a recent interview, Damon discussed how these directors influenced him, and we’ll get to that after after that jump. First, Damon revealed that he cast Frances McDormand in his directorial debut. The project is based on an idea by Dave Eggers and John Krasinski, about “a salesman who goes to this small town and how the salesman is changed by his experience there.” Damon and Krasinski will also star in the film alongside McDormand. Damon says they’re trying to round out the cast, so hopefully we’ll receive the full list in the coming weeks.
Now back to Damon’s approach to directing. Hit the jump for quotes.
We have been keeping tabs on Matt Damon’s directorial ambitions for some time now. The wife-swapping Yankee tale The Trade was an early candidate for his directorial debut, but the project is on hold pending legal issues. The thriller Father Daughter Time emerged as another possibility this summer. When Damon remarked that John Krasinski will star in an upcoming project, we linked Krasinki to Father Daughter Time. However, we learned tonight that Father Daughter Time and the Krasinski collaboration are two separate projects. Krasinski came up with the idea for the untitled drama, which THR compares to Erin Brockovich in the sense that the story centers on a town being poisoned. Variety adds a bit more detail: “Damon plays a salesman who arrives in a small town only to have his whole life called into question.” More after the jump.