Max Winkler is a name that you should really get used to hearing. In addition to having his feature directorial debut, Ceremony, set to come out on April 8, he also has quite a number of projects at various stages of development. Lucky for me, I just had the chance to talk with him about a bunch of them.

Speaking with Winkler – who also happens to be the son of Happy Days and Arrested Development star Henry Winkler* - one on one at the junket for Ceremony I took the opportunity to ask him about his upcoming slate, including The Adventurer’s Handbook, First Man, The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things and his next directorial effort.

For starters, I asked Winkler aboutThe Adventurer’s Handbook, a project based on a script written by himself, Jonah Hill and his writing partner Max Spicer. The project was first announced back in February of 2009, but, sadly, is still stuck in development. But while it’s still on the backburner, the writer/director is still very excited about it, saying, “[Hill is] somebody who I’d love to make a movie with, whether it be Adventurer’s Handbook or another movie. I hope we get to make Adventurer’s Handbook soon because I think it would be really fun for all of us.” I also took the opportunity to ask if Jason Schwartzman is still set to star and if Akiva Schaffer will still direct, to which Winkler responded, “I hope so” before lauding Schaffer’s abilities.
”Akiva is tremendously talented and somebody who I can’t wait to see what’s next. I hope it’s this one.”
One project very much in motion, however, is First Man, which was recently set up at Paramount with Johnny Knoxville as the star. While the script hasn’t been written yet, the story will be about a man whose wife becomes president and he decides to let his true colors show. The character, however, has one direct inspiration. “Spicer and I have always been interested in what would happen if Todd Palin became the first man, Winkler said. “It’s kind of a scary situation, but making him a much more likable character.” As for Knoxville, Winkler couldn’t be happier about the casting.
”Johnny Knoxville has such an incredible humanity to him when you meet him. He’s so warm and so funny, and he can sort of get into trouble and you sort of forgive him immediately. We’re a huge fan of his movies and it seemed like, if it was going to be something that Spicer and I weren’t going to direct, it seemed like the perfect fit to work with him.”
Going back even further, I asked about the first script Winkler wrote out of film school with Spicer called The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things. The project was acquired by Fox Searchlight back in 2007 with Jason Reitman attached as a producer. Explaining the back story behind the project, the pair saw it as the script they “could sell and never have to work again,” comparing it to Bruce Almighty, but they were told instead that it was “really indie and quirky.” Originally planned as the first film Winkler would direct, much like The Adventurer’s Handbook it’s currently sitting on the backburner.

When I asked Winkler what his next directorial outing would be, he was a bit more coy. Without revealing a title or details, he did say that the script has been completed. Stay tuned for the rest of my interview with Max Winkler, only here on Cinema Blend!

*It should be noted that while I was working on this story Henry Winkler came over and asked how my day was going. I mentioned that I was writing a story about his son, and he shook my hand. It’s been a good day.

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