We talked here a little over a year ago about accomplished playwright Horton Foote, whose Durham-inspired screenplay "Main Street, U.S.A." was linked to "Bull Durham" producer Thom Mount, with a Durham backdrop proposed for the nonagenarian.
At the time, we noted a plot twist that might make some Durhamites, well, twist in discomfort. In the words of the New York Times:
Foote handed him a rewrite of a final draft — the story focuses on five characters in Durham who get caught up in a scheme to rejuvenate the town’s economy by housing nuclear waste — and watched as the producer pored over the pages. The night before, Foote jolted awake at 1:30 a.m., having solved the problematic ending that had plagued him the last three months. . . .
“At 90, you’re reminded over and over that it’s not for long. But I’ve made my peace with that. I don’t know what dying would be like, and I don’t waste any time thinking about it. Writing is the thing that props me up. I worked all night last night on the screenplay. I’ve never been to Durham but once. I looked around there and saw these tobacco warehouses, enormous and abandoned. It was like a ghost town to me. And whatever starts a play, or an idea of a play, began."
Now comes word from the Hollywood trade newspaper Variety that the project is on, with a March 16 beginning of production right here in the Bull City. According to Variety, Reliant Pictures -- a film production company attached to Mount, which secured $75m in funding from an Irish bank in '07 to make modest budgeted films, with MGM having a first-look deal -- will be leading the effort. John Doyle, a longtime British theater director with almost exclusively stage experience, will direct the production.
And what about the plot?
According to IMDB: "From the once thriving tobacco warehouses, to the current run-down and closed shops of Five Points, a diverse group of residents and their respective life changes when outsider Gus Leroy brings something new and potentially dangerous into their quiet town." And Variety says: "Story centers on a diverse group of residents of a small, economically moribund American city facing the consequences of change."
The web site "The Movie Insider" suggests that Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson, Tim Robbins and Sam Riley are attached to the film.
(Hat tip to the DCVB for mentioning the production news in their e-newsletter.)