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Few knew what the future held for director Michel Hazanavicius when he took home the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture at the Academy Awards for The Artist. A French director making a silent film in the 21st century? It's hard to figure out where to go from there. But if a new, long-dormant project called Will kicks up, it appears Michel Hazanavicius could be moving towards broad comedy.
Variety reports that Hazanavicius is eying a late 2014 start for Will, a film that has bounced around the studio system for quite awhile. The project would reteam Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis - two major-league A-List talents - and comes from the mind of comedian Demetri Martin, who penned the script. Currently set up at Paramount, the film also carries producing credits from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. That's an intimidatingly large roster of funny people.
The movie's fantasy concept finds the title character in a world absent of free will, where our actions are dictated by decisions declared by angelic figures from above. However, Will's angel opts to quit, stranding Will in the world and forcing him to make decisions on his own. You can definitely see shades of The Invention of Lying, where Ricky Gervais struggled to figure out a brave new world where he was history's first-ever liar. The film has had Rudd attached to the role of Will and Galifianakis, in a Dinner For Schmucks reunion, as his guardian angel. It would be amusing if they had switched roles, upended typecasting a bit. Otherwise, this whole thing feels vaguely 2006-ish.
The plan is for Hazanavicius is to shift to In The Garden of Beasts afterward. The true story, based on the book by Erik Larson, is about an American family in Berlin during World War II, and currently has Tom Hanks and Natalie Portman attached to play father and daughter. Eric Roth (Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) is currently adapting the book, and everything about it sounds like it's a home run as a 2016 Oscar contender.
Speaking of which, Hazanavicius' The Search is set to debut soon. The film premieres in competition in Cannes on May 21st, reuniting him with his life partner Berenice Bejo in a remake of the 1948 Fred Zinnemann film which he apparently shot in secrecy. This time, the plot centers on the relationship between an NGO worker and a young boy during the Chechen War. Pretty heavy material – the guess is spending time joking around with Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis after the film's press tour will be a sweet relief. Meanwhile, Rudd is currently suited up for the upcoming Ant-Man, as Zach Galifianakis is set to show up in the ensemble drama Freeheld.