Lost Kubrick Project Attracts Rockwell & Johansson

Sam RockwellSource: Production Weekly

When Stanley Kubrick comes up in conversation, one thinks fondly of the iconic characters and twisted narratives he conjured during his long spanning career that ironically produced just a dozen features. But what if there was a 13th film from the uncompromising auteur? Sadly, we’ll never know what Lunatic at Large would have been had Kubrick set out to adapt pulp author Jim Thompson’s treatment from the 1950’s, but thanks to a pair of 2010’s biggest stars, the lost project may actually get made.

Production Weekly reports that Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson are in early negotiations to topline the film as Johnnie Shephard and Joyce, respectively, an ex-carnival worker with serious anger-management issues and a nervous, attractive barfly he picks up. According to the trade, Kubrick’s son-in-law Philip Hobbs unearthed the misplaced treatment in 1999 when rummaging through items from the late filmmaker’s estate. It has been in development since then, with various producers (including American Psycho & Wall Street’s Edward R. Pressman) taking stabs at getting it off of the ground.

Now, with the stars of this summer’s sure hit Iron Man 2 attached to the project, it may actually happen, though the most important element of the production – a competent director ready to handle the dark material – is still missing. We’ll be following this project as it makes its rounds through the business this year, but in the meantime, whet your appetite with this 2006 description of the script:

Set in New York in 1956, it tells the story of Johnnie Sheppard, an ex-carnival worker with serious anger-management issues, and Joyce, a nervous, attractive barfly he picks up in a Hopperesque tavern scene. There’s a newsboy who flashes a portentous headline, a car chase over a railroad crossing with a train bearing down, and a romantic interlude in a spooky, deserted mountain lodge.

The great set piece is a nighttime carnival sequence in which Joyce, lost and afraid, wanders among the tents and encounters a sideshow’s worth of familiar carnie types: the Alligator Man, the Mule-Faced Woman, the Midget Monkey Girl, the Human Blockhead, with the inevitable noggin full of nails.