Swiss Army Man star Paul Dano is set to make his feature directorial debut with the drama WILDLIFE, based on the 1990 Richard Ford novel. Ford is currently rewriting the script, which was first adapted by Scott Barkman and Jorge Gaggero. Alex Saks will produce for June Pictures with Oren Moverman and Ann Ruark.
The coming-of-age drama centers on Joe Brinson, a 16-year old living in Montana, who watches his parents discover the limits of their marriage.
The film has been in development since as early as 2002 when Point Road Media was attached to produce. Both Christine Jeffs and Jorge Gaggero were previously attached to direct, but ultimately moved on from the project. With June Pictures – the young production company headed up by Andrew Duncan and Saks – coming on board, the project has regained momentum and is currently in preproduction. Launched in early 2016, June Pictures has an ambitious first year slate, having already wrapped on the Nat Faxon and Jim Rash produced drama Thoroughbred and the comedy Fun Mom Dinner, with The Florida Project starring Willem Dafoe currently in production. The company is preparing to release the festival darling Operator later this year.
Ford, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer, may be best known for his short story collection Rock Springs. He is also the author of The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day, The Lay of the Land, and Let Me Be Frank With You. His only other screenwriting credit is the 1990 thriller Bright Angel.
Dano has come a long way since his early roles in The Emperor’s Club and Little Miss Sunshine, taking a critically acclaimed turn in P.T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. He has since appeared in films like 12 Years a Slave, Love & Mercy, and Youth. Most recently, Dano appeared opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the buzzy Sundance film Swiss Army Man. He’ll next be seen in the drama Love Sonia about the global sex trade network and is currently in production with Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja.
Josh Lyons | Managing Editor