Lunatics At Large is finally heading into production this year, over half a century since Stanley Kubrick first explored the idea of the film.

Stanley Kubrick is one of those directors legitimately regarded as a creative genius, and therefore it’s only natural that other filmmakers seek to realise and compete any creative ambitions that the auteur may have left unfulfilled in his lifetime. Spielberg was quick off the mark to make A.I. Artificial Intelligence  in 2001, just two years after Kubrick’s death, completing the project that the Kubrick handed to him in 1995.

Terry Gilliam was also keen to get another unfinished Kubrick project, Lunatic At Large, into development last year. It’s a film based on a 70 page Kubrick treatment that he’d commissioned crime writer Jim Thompson to write in the 1950s. However, Gilliam’s take on the project fell apart in the face of the global pandemic. An earlier version of the film that would have starred Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell also came to nothing.

However, it now seems that the film might actually be winging its way into production with the news that the noir thriller has been once again optioned, with plans afoot to move it into production later this year. Experienced Hollywood producers Bruce Hendricks and Galen Walker have acquired the rights.

“The opportunity to bring a Stanley Kubrick project to the screen after so many years is a dream come true,” Walker said in a statement. “We look forward to making a film in keeping with his unique style and vision.” Hendricks chimed in with a statement of his own: “Stanley Kubrick was an enormous influence on so many directors, and we are honoured that the Kubrick Estate has entrusted us with one of his original ideas.”

It’s certainly an interesting development and we’ll bring you more news on this one as we hear it.

As for the nature of the film, the synopsis for the film reads as such:

Set in New York in 1956, it tells the story of Johnnie Sheppard, a former 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.

We’ll keep you posted.

Variety

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