Kristen Stewart, Hell Or High Water star Ben Foster and Dunkirk actor Tom Glynn-Carney are to lead cast in a movie inspired by the early works and letters of iconic U.S. writer William Burroughs. This will be a hot one at the Cannes market next week.
Foster will make his directorial debut on the film and has also penned the script with Oren Moverman (Time Out Of Mind). The project explores the unusual love triangle between Burroughs (Foster), his unsung, brilliant, charismatic, common-law muse, Joan Vollmer (Stewart), and a young, straight-laced American ex-pat named Allerton (Glynn-Carney) who upends their lives to the extreme.
Celluloid Dreams has acquired international sales rights and will launch the project in Cannes. UTA Independent Film Group will handle sales for the United States and Canada. Olive Productions’ Wren Arthur (Puzzle), Waypoint’s Ken Kao (The Favourite), and Sight Unseen’s Oren Moverman (Skin) are producing, with Olive’s Steve Buscemi serving as executive producer.
Naked Lunch and Junkie author Burroughs, a Beat Generation icon, was one of the most influential and controversial figures of mid 20th century U.S. literature. The author was well known for his autobiographical works, his drug addiction and for killing Vollmer in mysterious circumstances.
Buscemi has long-wanted to make a Burroughs movie and was previously attached to direct an adaptation of the writer’s controversial early novel Queer. The screenplay for that project was also written by Moverman and Ben Foster was among those to take part in an early reading of the project at the 2010 Sarasota Film Festival. Allerton was also a character in that novel so this new movie will at least riff off that former project.
“We have found the perfect partners in Hengameh Panahi and Charlotte Mickie of Celluloid Dreams,” Foster stated. “We are delighted to align our film with their formidable taste and reputation to celebrate this unique, untold love story. Our film is kind of anti-Beat. We meet our star-crossed lovers in New York City, head to the Texas border, roar through Mexico City’s underbelly, and end up in the Amazon jungle. This film is about love, sex and self-discovery in all of its lush, dark and often hilarious complexity.”
Wren Arthur commented, “We are beyond excited to go on this artistic journey with Ben. A phenomenal talent in front of the camera, his uncanny depth and understanding of character will make him that rare breed of truly accomplished hyphenates: actor-writer-director. The genius of William S. Burroughs is in the hands of a true artist and creative collaborator who, together with the extraordinary Kristen Stewart and newcomer Tom Glynn-Carney, will bring to the screen the definitive Beats boom box.”
Hengameh Panahi and Charlotte Mickie of Celluloid Dreams added, “We were so moved by the poetry and depth of Ben and Oren’s beautiful script—it was a revelation. It’s a new, tender view of Burroughs, a long time hero of ours, so pertinent to our present times and the importance of otherness, and full of both humor and poignancy. Ben is so immersed in this material, so familiar and committed, that we know the movie will be authentic and luminous. And Kristen will be a brilliant Joan, a character who richly deserves discovery.”
Foster is currently executive producing and starring in Barry Levinson’s boxing biopic Harry Haft, portraying the title role of the Jewish boxer who fought for his survival in German concentration camps. He co-starred last year in Debra Granik’s well-received drama Leave No Trace. He previously collaborated with Moverman on The Messenger and Rampart, which Foster also produced with Ken Kao.
Stewart (Personal Shopper), who previously starred in Beat generation movie On The Road, stars in the forthcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot, as well as Amazon’s Against All Enemies; Glynn-Carney, most notable for his role in Dunkirk, can next be seen in David Michod’s film The King.
Foster is repped by UTA, Stewart is with Gersh, and Glynn-Carney is with Independent Talent Group and UTA.