Quite often, wonderful film projects are born at the Cannes Film Festival, where producers, directors, agents, managers, studio executives, brokers and financiers converge to pick the best of the best for their forthcoming slate. However, there are always less interesting movies that make the rounds as well, and What Maisie Knew seems to fit into the latter category.
The film, which is an adaptation of Henry James’ novel, is about Maisie, a six-year-old girl enmeshed in the bitter divorce of her mother, a rock and roll icon, and her father, a charming but distracted art dealer. Set in New York, production is to begin in August in the Big Apple, with Julianne Moore and Steven Coogan locked to play the mother and father. Alexander Skarsgard just signed on for role of Moore’s new husband at the Cannes Film Festival, where distribution rights are currently being sold. Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Uncertainty) will co-direct from a script by Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright
It’s billed as a dramedy, though the story sounds like it’s filled with more deeper moments than lighter ones. I guess that’s where Coogan will come in: he’s always good for a few yuks, even in serious situations. I’m not familiar with any of the behind-the-scenes players, so they could turn this bare-bones story into something a bit meatier, but based on the synopsis alone it sounds like a snooze. The big deal here is Skarsgard, who’s going to be a huge star if he plays his cards right and balances his upcoming slate between grittier work like September’s Straw Dogs, indie fare like this gig and big-budget productions like next summer’s Battleship.