Mark Romanek came from the same school of filmmaking experience as the estimable likes of Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer, Anton Corbijn, and Michel Gondry. That is to say that he cut his teeth while directing music videos for a number of major artists in the 1990s and the early aughts. He’s best known for working with Nine Inch Nails on the videos to “Closer” and “The Perfect Drug,” but he’s also done excellent work on the clips for R.E.M.’s “Strange Currencies,” Madonna’s “Bedtime Stories,” and Janet Jackson‘s “Got Til Its Gone.” More recently, he helmed the popular video for Justin Timberlake‘s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off.”
One can see a reflection in Romanek’s move toward directing videos for more purely pop acts with today’s news from Deadline that his next directorial effort will be the romantic comedy Septillion to One. Romanek’s first two features – One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go – were gorgeously somber and often unsettling affairs, obsessed as they were with alienation, death, and matters of aesthetics. The arrival of this latest project, which centers on an FBI agent who begins investigating a woman who has won the Texas state lottery three times, suggests a more adventurous and ambitious turn for the director. Working from a Black List-approved script by Graham Sack and Adam R. Perlman, Romanek is currently in casting for the project, with STX Entertainment and OddLot backing the feature. For the fascination of seeing how Romanek takes to crafting images as much for guffaws as for poetry alone, Septillion to One is now one of the most interesting American projects currently prepping for production.
Here’s how Deadline summed up the plot of Septillion to One:
An overzealous former FBI agent who has been relegated to the fraud unit of the Texas State Lottery begins investigating a beautiful and shrewd woman who had inexplicably defied all odds and hit the lottery jackpot three times. He realizes the odds are over one in a billion for this to happen, creating a game of cat and mouse with the suspect, with whom he ultimately falls head over heels in love.