With its recent win at the PGA awards, Asif Kapadia‘s Amy would seemingly be the frontrunner for the Best Documentary Oscar, and there’s good reason beyond the fact that it’s a solid, if a bit overtly manipulative film. The film talks about the plague of fame that can destroy young artists, even ones whose tremendous talents seemingly rocket them beyond the petty pickings, criticism, and constant attention that being famous brings. It’s the kind of movie that could make the director a name to be uttered alongside Alex Gibney, Werner Herzog, and Errol Morris, and he’s already set-up his follow-up, Silver Ghost, which tells the story of the two creators of the Rolls Royce. It would be Kapadia’s first narrative feature in about ten years, and his first look at a film about cars since his excellent breakout hit, Senna.
Even bigger news is who is backing Kapadia, namely the great Martin Scorsese, who will be producing the film with Anthony Haas while he prepares pre-production duties for the impossibly anticipated Sinatra. The idea was originally the brainchild of the late, great Richard Attenborough, who had developed the idea of a film about Charles Roll and Henry Royce, the two minds behind the design and engineering of the car, alongside producer Haas. According to Scorsese, he’s been looking to work on the project for years now.
For those unfamiliar, Royce grew up poor, working as a telegram delivery boy and paperboy following the death of his father, while Rolls attended a premiere engineering school; they met through an affluent friend who was one of two people who owned one of Ryce’s first motorcars. Rolls would later hold the record of being the first citizen of Briton to die in an aeronautical crash. Long story short, there’s a lot of substantial narrative ground to cover here, and plenty of thematic fascination in terms of wealth, creative endeavors, and elitism. It’s a movie that Scorsese might have made a grand masterwork out of had he taken it for himself, but there’s more than enough evidence that Kapadia can craft a compelling, interestingly formed film out of the material. After all, he has a way of charting stories about great talents who burn out far too quickly.