Twelve years ago, Russell Crowe got his third Oscar nomination for his portrayal of mental illness as mathematician John Nash in Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind. Now he's at it again, signing up to star in the heavy drama Fathers and Daughters, in which he'll play another mentally ill character. No one can blame him for striking that iron twice while it was still hot.
Directed by The Pursuit of Happyness's Gabriele Muccino, Crowe will star as a famous novelist living in Manhattan in the 1980s, suffering from mental illness after his wife’s death as he tries raising his 5-year-old daughter. The story will jump back and forth between this story and one of his daughter 25 years later as she deals with her own problems in modern day New York, struggling with problems that began in her youth. There’s a lot of promise here, as it sounds like a spin on Derek CIanfrance’s generation-gapped drama The Place Beyond the Pines. And let’s be honest here. Crowe looks like he was born to play exactly this part. No one thought he was born to play Robin Hood.
Muccino is clearly happy for Crowe coming aboard, telling Deadline, “This is a performance-driven movie, and therefore I couldn’t ask for a better actor than Russell to deliver this intensely emotional drama. It’s edgy, heart-wrenching and uplifting at the same time.” He went on to compare it to great 70s character dramas like Kramer Vs. Kramer and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s obvious that whoever they find to play the daughter will now be the make-or-break-it link in the chain. Well, Muccino’s last film was 2012’s Playing for Keeps, so we’re just hoping for something a little brainier than that.
The script was written by Brad Desch, and was on last year’s Black List of the best unproduced screenplays. Desch has another project in progress, an adaptation of his own not-yet published coming of age novel Shotgun Lovesongs at Fox Searchlight.
This is one more high-profile project in a recent string of them for Crowe, who followed his 2012 vocal performance in Les Misérables with Allen Hughes’ Broken City and starred as Superman’s good ol’ dad in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. But I’m much more interested in his two upcoming projects, A Beautiful Mind screenwriter Akiva Goldman’s feature directorial debut, the dark fantasy Winter’s Tale, and Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical epic Noah, which come out in February and March respectively. He is also set to begin his own directorial debut at some point in the next year with the Battle of Gallipoli-centered missing child drama The Water Diviner. He’s not really a broad comedy guy, this Russell Crowe.
Fathers and Daughters is set to begin prepping its production this December, so expect some more casting news in the coming weeks.