EXCLUSIVE: After it was recently announced that Mark Steven Johnson is set to remake the 1980s horror film The Changeling, we’ve learned that the filmmaker is set to direct a second feature, Radiant which is based on American composer George Antheil’s autobiography Bad Boy of Music.
Adapted by Reinhard Denke, Radiant centers around early 20th century musical radical and multi-hyphenate Antheil and his unlikely friendship with movie star Hedy Lamarr. Despite their day jobs in entertainment, the two possessed an intense desire to defeat the Nazis and thus invented and patented a secret communications system in 1941 which sketched out the principle of frequency hopping which is used in most cell phones today. Their invention proved crucial to the development of modern communications as we know it, paving the way for wireless phones, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi technology itself.
As a composer, Antheil was known for his jazzy symphony virtuoso piano sonatas such as Ballet Mecanique, which drew raves and riles in Berlin and Paris during the 1920s. He was labeled by critics as a misguided genius and publicity hound. During the 1926 premiere of Ballet Mecanique in Paris, a riot broke out at the Theatre du Champs Elysées. The score called for 16 player pianos, three xylophones, four bass drums, a tam-tam, two grand pianos, seven bells, a fire siren, and three airplane propellers.
Casting for the project will begin in June.
William Byerley, Rock Island Films; Chayah Masters, Rumination Road; David Brown, Clear Horizon Entertainment are producers. Byerley is an EP and financier on After the Wedding starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Billy Crudup. Masters and Brown are also EPs on After the Wedding.
As a screenwriter, Johnson penned the Grumpy Old Men franchise for Warner Bros. and directed and wrote such Marvel feature adaptations as Ghost Rider and Daredevil. Johnson recently directed Finding Steve McQueen about a gang in 1972 who try to steal $30 million in illegal contributions and blackmail money from President Richard Nixon’s secret fund. He is repped by Paradigm and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof and Fishman.