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John Hillcoat convincingly depicted a fictional bleak future for the world in The Road, but it seems a little of that apocalypse has seeped into his real life. Capping a production diary he kept for The Telegraph about production on The Road, Hillcoat revealed that his next project, The Promised Land, has fallen apart.
The guy is understandably depressed, and takes the collapse of one indie film as a sign of greater unrest for independent film in general:
My own new project – with a much-loved script by Nick Cave and a dream all-star cast – has fallen apart. The finance company that we began The Road with has also fallen apart, having to radically downsize to one remaining staff member. The great divide has begun, with only very low-budget films being made or huge 3-D franchise films – the birth of brand films such as Barbie, Monopoly: The Movie – who knows what’s next, Coca-Cola: The Movie?
The Promised Land, which was being promoted at the American Film Market barely a month ago, would have been an adaptation of Matt Bondurant's novel The Wettest County in the World, about three bootlegging brothers who would probably have been played by Michael Shannon, Ryan Gosling and Shia LaBeouf. The Playlist (who also found this story in The Telegraph) reviewed the script last fall and called it "remarkable, vivid and tactile," and at the end of the review pleaded "Someone greenlight this, please."
The collapse of Millennium Films, which would have financed the film, of course doesn't mean that Nick Cave's script disappears into the ether and Hillcoat loses all enthusiasm for the project. But it's hard to remain optimistic when even the director acknowledges that it's getting harder and harder for independent projects to score any money, particularly after a movie as delicate and moving as The Road barely made a dent at the box office. Even as the Great Recession seems to be easing up, times are still tough for small stories at the movies.