At the SXSW Film Festival promoting a personal documentary The Thorn in His Heart, director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) provided updates on a variety of projects he has in the works. Gondry spoke about post-production on The Green Hornet, an indie drama about community filmmaking called The We & The I, the sci-fi film Return of the Ice Kids, a time travel movie starring Ellen Page, and his animated movie, Megalomania.
Hit the jump for updates on all of these projects from this highly talented director.
Let’s kick it off with Gondry’s most highly-anticipated project, The Green Hornet. Co-written and starring Seth Rogen, the film is based on masked crime fighter who first appeared as a radio program in the 1930s. Gondry is currently in post-production on the project and had this to say [almost all of these updates are via The Playlist]:
“Sometimes [my son says] ‘Oh, you should have done it the way you had it initially,’ but there are still things I brought to it, personal things. So it will still have my imprint on it.”
Noting that some people can’t wrap their minds around the mix of his off-beat directorial style and the script by Superbad co-writers Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Gondry exclaimed, “Me either!” He continued,
“You will see when it’s done. Like any movie, we’re figuring the movie in the editing room, but I think when it’s done it’s going to be very spectacular.”
Moving on, Gondry says his next project will be an indie drama called The We & The I, which is based on Gondry’s book You’ll Like This Film Because You’re In it: The Be Kind Rewind Protocol. Here’s how Gondry describes the picture:
“It’s about the group effect, how people in groups transform when the group is dislocated, because everyone jumps out of the bus at different times, there is a smaller group and how the relationships evolve.” Is it another science-fiction project? “No, it’s kids on a bus, it’s more like a social thing. It’s not [well-known] actors, it’s going to be kids from a school in the Bronx. I love kids and just [regular] people too because they are not polluted by the medium. They come as they are and they have beautiful stories to tell, so I want to show that.”
For a director who has such a distinctive visual style and would make a good example for The Auteur Theory (after all, there is a [must-own] DVD called The Work of Director Michel Gondry, which is a compilation of his music videos and commercials), Gondry has deep admiration for art that comes from a community as seen in his documentary, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and in Be Kind Rewind.
In a mix of sad and joyous news, Gondry said that his long-in-development adaptation of Rudy Rucker’s 1984 sci-fi novel, The Master of Space and Time is now dead. However, in an interview with MTV, Gondry revealed that he’s collaborating with comic book author Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) on a similar project and Ellen Page is attached to star. However, Gondry also said that he’s working with writer Keith Bunin (HBO’s In Treatment) on the script, so it’s unclear who’s actively involved with Gondry on the project. Here’s what Gondry had to say on this untitled film:
“I’d like to do a movie of this size with my own story, which would be quite amazing. But we’ll see,” he said. “I’m developing a screenplay with a writer right now about kids who travel [into] the future by mistake and a machine [that] keeps people younger… ehhh, it’s complicated to explain…Ellen Page is supposed to be the main character…She’d play Nancy, a young woman who participates in the discovery and changes the world.”
Here’s the video of Gondry talking about the project:
Speaking Gondry and sci-fi, he spoke about another film he’s currently developing called Return of the Ice Kids, which, according to The Playlist, is about a group of teenagers who develop a form of water that makes you hear music when you drink it.
“It’s still in the writing [phase],” Gondry said, noting that he himself won’t write the project now. “I wrote two drafts, but then we hired someone else to write another draft. I don’t think he’s very well known.”
Finally, Gondry provided an update on the animated film Megalomania (also written by Clowes) which he’s been working on since 2007. Like Ice Kids and his untitled film with Ellen Page, this one is also a science fiction film involving kids, but it’s based on his “director/slave relationship Gondry has with his son Paul.
“It’s about three kids who discover how to create energy from hair. And they shave everyone on the planet. The rich people wear and rule the world. So the rich people wear wigs and the poor people are just bald. And they want to make a better world, but the maker — which is sort of based on my son — is a horrible dictator…”
Elaborating on the horrible dictator character based on his son, here’s what Gondry had to say:
“I didn’t want him to be the son of me, I want him to be his own person. I always saw him as an individual from the first second he was born. I always appreciated from him from how different he was from me. He’s very well dressed and stylish and much more confident then me. He’s street smart.”
The film is currently set to star the voice talents of Steve Buscemi, Seth Rogen, and Juliette Lewis.
So yeah, Gondry’s a little busy right now. That can happen when your brain is seemingly powered by only by imagination.