EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has won a heated auction of a package for the next film by writer-director Dan Gilroy. The untitled genre pic is set in the art world and will reteam Gilroy with his Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo and producer Jennifer Fox. Deadline revealed the project last week as a hot package, and Scott Stuber’s feature film division at Netflix outbid multiple buyers to get it. The film will get a small qualifying theatrical release when it is released on the streaming service.
Gilroy, a veteran screenwriter who, believe it or not, began his career as a junior reporter at Weekly Variety back when it was based in Times Square and looked like something out of The Front Page, slowly has written his way toward the directing A-list. He made his debut with Nightcrawler, the pitch-black thriller that had Gyllenhaal playing the sociopath cameraman and Russo the local news producer who sells her soul for ratings.
Gilroy followed that film by making a package deal to direct his script Inner City with Denzel Washington, with Sony taking that one off the table. That under-$40 million pic is Michael Clayton meets The Verdict, a legal thriller set in Los Angeles. Washington plays a hard-nosed liberal lawyer named Roman J. Israel who has been fighting the good fight forever while others take the credit. When his partner, the firm’s frontman, has a heart attack, Israel suddenly takes on that role. He finds out some unsettling things about what the crusading law firm as done that run afoul of his values of helping the poor and dispossessed and finds himself in existential crisis that leads to extreme action.
It is the second film for Gyllenhaal made expressly for Netflix. He co-stars in the Bong Joon-ho-directed Okja. Gyllehnaal is shooting The Sisters Brothers for Jacques Audiard and next has the David Gordon Green-directed Stronger. In the latter he plays Jeff Bauman in his recovery from the Boston Marathon blast that took his lower legs, and the film marks the narrative debut of Gyllenhaal’s production company Nine Stories, which produced along with Mandeville and Bold. Russo, who is Gilroy’s wife, wrapped the Ron Shelton-directed Villa Capri.