by: Madison Barnes
Hollywood heavyweight Peter Berg has signed on to direct The Weinstein Company‘s adaptation of BOYS IN THE BOAT, a non-fiction novel about the University of Washington’s rowing team that beat out other top schools to compete in the 1936 Olympics. The Mark Gordon Company is also producing, and the project seems to be getting hotter every time I read about it. The latest attachment of Berg makes it impossible to ignore, and with the Weinstein’s revolutionary marketing techniques, we’re in for a very character-driven, “indie” feeling piece that’s going to garner a lot of attention.
Berg is known for his writing, directing, and acting talents, turning his feature “Friday Night Lights” into a hit television show on NBC and going on to direct big action movies like “Hancock,” “Battleship,” and the recent “Lone Survivor” starring Mark Wahlberg. He also did a lot of acting in the ’90s before working his writing and directing talents into his career.
He seems to like making movies with machismo subjects, with most of his movies centering on sports, the military, or some kind of physical team-centric skill. This is not to say his films lack depth, as “Friday Night Lights” is all about the inter-personal relationships within a team and organization, and this is why he’s the perfect director for the Weinstein’s project. He can blend action and deeper themes together, unlike other directors who may get stuck on one side or the other. Kenneth Branagh, the Shakespearean actor and director, was previously attached to direct the film, but amidst bouncing between development, left the project. In hindsight it may have been for the best, as Berg has had more experience in this genre.
There is no word yet on who they’re eyeing to star in the film, but Berg has worked a lot with Taylor Kitsch in the past. The two have collaborated on the “Friday Night Lights” series and the feature film “Battleship,” so I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up as one of the rowing boys (and let’s be honest… I’d love to see him shirtless, flexing his muscles in a rowboat.)
Chris Weitz signed on to adapt the novel by Daniel James Brown back in 2012, but Jon Hartmere is working on the current version of the script. Shooting is scheduled to start in January of 2015, so the production seems to be going right on schedule. Harvey Weinstein and Mark Gordon must know they have something great in the bag, and all they have to do is firm up their cast. Collin Creighton and Ben Fast are executive producing for the the Weinstein Company.