The name Julian Schnabel may not ring any bells for most of you, but he has created waves the past few years first with his beautiful retelling of the life and times of Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and then with his controversial look into the life of a Palestinian girl living life after the Arab-Israeli war, Miral. No doubt a man with a clear artistic vision, we may get to see him working with the always artistic Johnny Depp in the next few years.

Depp acquired rights to the Nick Tosches novel In the Hand of Dante a few years back and, according to The Playlist, has approached Schnabel with the prospect of directing the adaptation which, not surprisingly, Depp will star in. Schnabel told The Playlist:
It belongs to Johnny, but I’m not going to make it for a couple of years. We’re gonna work on writing it, developing it. We didn’t sign anything.

Dante tells two interweaving stories, one of Dante Alighieri working feverishly to finish the Divine Comedy in the 1300s, the other of a fictional Nick Tosches in 2001 who is hired on the black market to verify a manuscript of Alighieri’s amazing work. We can probably expect the stories to have some similarities, and also be safe in assuming that some elements from Alighieri’s Comedy and Inferno will also appear, if only subtly.

Interweaving two stories that different in time period can make for some very interesting storytelling and opens up the film makers to take visual leaps that can’t be made when simply making a movie about the 21st century. Unfortunately, it’ll be a few years before we see this on screen, but until then, Schnabel encourages us to dive into the novel and get acquainted.
It’s just something Johnny asked me to read and I think it’s a great book so maybe you should read it. It’s pretty beautiful. It’s about everything.

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