Between 2000's Billy Elliot, 2003's The Hours, and 2009's The Reader, English director Stephen Daldry has been nominated three time for the Academy Awards Best Director honor, and lost. While his last effort, 2011's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was met with mixed reviews, it still earned two Academy Award nods, one for Best Supporting Actor (Max von Sydow), the other for Best Picture. Essentially, we always expect a Daldry drama to be in the Oscar race. So, watch out for Trash!
Deadline reports Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara have signed on to the drama, joining Brazilian actors Wagner Moura ( Elysium), and Selton Mello (The Clown, as well as newcomers Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis and Gabriel Weinstein. But what's Trash all about?
Based on the Andy Mulligan's young adult novel of the same name, Trash is set in a Third World nation in the not-so-distant future. There, lone children called "dumpsite boys" fend for themselves by picking through the sprawling landfills on the outskirts of a large city. They dig not just for food, but for objects they might sell. The story centers on three of these poor boys--Raphael, Gardo, and Rat--who have no parents, homes, money, nor education. But they have street smarts. So when Raphael comes across something mysterious in the muck, he keeps it, hiding it even from the police who offer a tempting reward for its return. Soon, the three friends find themselves entangled in an inescapable mystery, forced to right an atrocious wrong.
While we don't know much about this mysterious McGuffin, we do know that Tevez, Luis, and Weinstein will play the three boys at the film's center. Sheen will be playing a character called Father Julliard, so presumably a priest. Mara is set to portray an NGO aid worker, embedded in this poverty-stricken place. Bu the roles of Moura and Mello are currently unknown.
Despite being based on yet another young adult book, Trash doesn't seem to be trying to chase the trend that Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games have made so popular. Sure, it's base is an adventure tale of three young boys defying authority and overcoming great odds (I'm assuming, I haven't read the book), but the novel is also noted for its dedicated focus on the injustice of severe wealth disparity.
While these boys scrape by only nearly nothing, there are people of great fortune in this twisted society. And whatever it is that the boys are hiding may play into this class struggle between the "haves" and "have-nots." Okay, now it's sounding a bit like The Hunger Games, which would be an interesting direction for Daldry to take. But considering his filmography thus far, I'd suspect this will be more the kind of straight-forward drama that the Academy salivates over, rather than any kind of kid-centered action adventure. And with a screenplay from Richard Curtis (Love Actually), expect the dialogue to be sparkling.
Trash is scheduled to go into production early next month in Rio de Janeiro.