There are so few great filmmakers in the world, I just hate it when one stops working. I’m sure that’s how some older cinephiles felt when Terrence Malick took a twenty year sabbatical between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, and how fans of Francis Ford Coppola felt when he took a decade off between The Rainmaker and Youth Without Youth. Personally, I’ve been waiting for Adrian Lyne (who hasn’t made a film since 2002’s Unfaithful) to come back to the art for some time and today I’m happy to say that he’s finally getting behind the camera again with a project that should suit his sensibilities nicely.
Variety reports that Lyne has adapted Tawni O’Dell’s bestselling novel Back Roads and will direct a feature based on the book, which was an Oprah Book Club selection in 2000. Infinity Media is behind the project and Lyne has already roped a stellar cast, including Andrew Garfield, Jennifer Garner and Marcia Gay Harden. The story, said to involve elements of a murder-mystery, centers on a young man from rural Pennsylvania who is forced to care for his three younger sisters after their mother is sent to prison for killing her abusive husband. At 19, his hormones are raging and hit a fever pitch when he becomes involved with a sexy local (and older) woman – a melancholy mother of two. The plot deals with how he handles his responsibilities to his family while living a life of his own. Garner will play the seductive mother while Harden will play a court-appointed psychiatrist. The source claims that the roles of the sister are being cast now and a few high-profile young actresses are under consideration.
With its mature themes and focus on sexual activity, Back Roads seems like a good fit for the man who made so many films that explored sensual behavior. Lyne is responsible for risque movies like Nine 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal, not to mention the 1997 remake of Lolita, which centers on the psycho-sexual obsession that an older man has with a teenage girl. Though love making is central to the narratives in all these films, they also tackle subject matter with more depth while creating memorable erotic imagery, which is exactly what Back Roads sounds like it contains. I’m not saying that it will be a “sex flick”; it appears to be more of a family drama with healthy doses of adult content. But I can think of only a handful of filmmakers that would be brave enough to tell a story like this (Nick Cassavetes comes to mind) and Lyne may well be the very best for the job.
Filming is set for a June start.