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Like it or hate it, Craig Zobel’s button-pushing Sundance hit Compliance is earning the director attention as it continues to expand into more theaters in multiple cities. And Zobel’s now proving that he’s smarter than the average director because he’s parlaying the short-lived (but well-deserved) recognition into at least one new gig. Strike while the iron is hot, sir.
Focus Features is getting into business with Zobel, buying an untitled pitch from the writer-director - and that’s all you are going to get, because producers Jack Turner (Cold Weather) and Nicholas Shumaker (Another Earth) have decided to keep Zobel’s logline “under wraps,” according to Variety.
We’re interested in what type of story Zobel plans to tell, but Focus likely needs to figure out when he’s going to be ready to tell it. The director recently signed on to direct the apocalyptic zombie thriller Z for Zachariah with Tobey Maguire, so that could put this untitled thriller on the backburner. There’s also the danger that Zobel’s rising star will have cooled if Z doesn’t deliver the same precise tensions of Compliance (which we enjoyed).
For now, we’re willing to give Zobel the benefit of the doubt. If you saw Compliance (and you should) or even his earlier film, Great Wall of Sound, you know that he’s got talent behind the lens. It’s wholly possible that he could develop into the next J.J. Abrams, who has the power to cast a shadow over a personal project like Super 8, which he wrote and directed. But it’s a little too early to get majorly excited about the next Zobel “joint,” until we see a few more of his features.