The Downslope, Stanley Kubrick’s original screenplay written in 1956, is being developed as a feature trilogy with Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball, World War Z) attached to direct and produce the first in the series. He also will produce the subsequent features. The Downslope is said to be “a sweeping, historical action-drama” that Kubrick penned following the release of his allegorical war film Fear And Desire and prior to directing his seminal WWI period piece Paths Of Glory.
Kubrick — who died in 1999 — was, of course, one of the most notable filmmakers of our time. This is not the first time that one of his ideas has come to the screen after his death. In 2001, Steven Spielberg brought Kubrick’s vision of A.I. Artificial Intelligence to the screen via Kubrick’s longtime home, Warner Bros. This, however, is something that Kubrick had given to Spielberg after developing the story with numerous screenwriters over decades.
As only Kubrick could, the late filmmaker had spent years before his death studying, developing and writing the story for The Downslope. He even created maps and notes as to how he planned to shoot the movie. It is based on historical events and originally developed with renowned Civil War historian Shelby Foote. The project is said to have the full support from the Kubrick family.
An anti-war story, The Downslope focuses on a bitter, strategic series of Civil War battles in the Shenandoah Valley between young Union General George Armstrong Custer and Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby (known as the Gray Ghost for his stealth strategies). His cavalrymen, known as Mosby’s Rangers, continually outsmarted the much-larger enemy forces in a sequence of raids, which enraged Custer and eventually created a fierce cycle of revenge between the two men.
The films after that will expand upon the master filmmaker’s original story and journey west, as postwar Americans settled the new frontier, delivering on the country’s unbending ambitions and dreams of Manifest Destiny.
Lauren Selig — a producer on Lone Survivor and also the upcoming Everest — Barry Levine (Hercules, Oblivion) and Reneé Wolfe (All I See Is You) are developing the material with Forster. Selig initiated the project with producers/rights holders Phil Hobbs (Full Metal Jacket) and Steve Lanning, who are also serving as producers on the project.
Kubrick was Oscar-nominated four times for directing, five for writing and three for producing. His long list of incredible films includes Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut.