Director James Gray has revealed which classic movies influenced his next project, Armageddon Time, in a new interview. The Ad Astra and Lost City of Z helmer is currently in the early stages of production on his next movie. Back in June, we learned Armageddon Time had recruited some heavy-hitters, with Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and Oscar Isaac joining Cate Blanchett and Donald Sutherland on the casting front. Armageddon Time will tell a coming-of-age story based on Gray’s own experiences growing up in Queens in the 1980s and attending the Kew-Forest School.
Gray was candid about various aspects of Armageddon Time while speaking with producer Rodrigo Teixeira during an Instagram chat (and via The Film Stage) earlier this week. Contrary to the title, Gray revealed Armageddon Time‘s tone will be warmer and more open thanks to influences from two key works from directors Federico Fellini and François Truffaut, respectively.
At one point in the conversation, Teixeira asks if Armageddon Time is Gray’s version of Fellini’s Amarcord, the implication being that Armageddon Time, like Amarcord, is based in the director’s own coming-of-age experiences. Gray replied, “It is certainly one of my favorite movies. I can’t say that, because that all of sudden gives me credit to be up there with Fellini, which I would never do. But certainly Amarcord and The 400 Blows, these are movies that I thought about quite a bit while working on it, and that’s the mood of those movies––a very open, warm, humane film and to love the people in it.”
Gray also expanded on previous comments about the plot of Armageddon Time, speaking on the personal experiences he would be pulling from for this new story.
“It’s very simply kind of a memoir about when I was twelve and in the fall of 1980 in New York about my best friend and my relationship with him and when I moved from public school to private school. And how my relationship with him was destroyed in the process. So it’s a family story, but in a way, it’s kind of a love story between myself and my good friend, who I never saw again after I changed schools. And the idea is to make a film about how class and racism divides us, because he was black, my friend.”
To this, Gray added, “It’s a film I’m going to make, if you had to compare it to something, it would be very much in the vein of Two Lovers. Very personal film and very warm––as warm as I can make it, filled with as much humor as I can make it and as much love as I can make it.”
Gray will be directing Armageddon Time from his own script. Filming is expected to take place in New York City. We’ll keep you posted on Armageddon Time developments. In the meantime, why not check out our latest on Gray’s most recent movie, Ad Astra?
Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.