By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Dee Rees Adapting Joan Didion Novel With Producer Cassian Elwes And Others

[PR] Award-winning independent filmmaker Dee Rees (Mudbound, Pariah) will direct the best-selling 1996 Joan Didion political thriller The Last Thing He Wanted from publisher Alfred A. Knopf.  Elevated’s Cassian Elwes (Dallas Buyers Club, Lee Daniels’ The Butler) optioned the book last year from Didion to develop it in partnership with Rees following their incredible collaboration on Mudbound, which premiered to standing ovations in Sundance and at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Marco Villalobos will pen the screenplay which is a political thriller in the vein of the parallax view about a Washington Post journalist thrown unexpectedly into the dangerous world of arms dealing. Prolific production and financing house, The Fyzz Facility has come onboard to develop the project with an eye to co-financing the film once the project is ready as part of their first-look deal with Elwes.

Mudbound, which Netflix will release in November, is set in the post WWII South, it tells the story of two families pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle ground abroad.  Mudbound explores the themes of friendship, heritage and the unending struggle for and against the land.

“This work is one of my favorite Joan Didion novels and is a brilliant and layered piece of fiction,” said Rees.  “I am forever attracted to interesting, unexpected characters and Didion is one of the greatest masters of the form.  I’m so excited to be able to interpret this literary masterpiece.”

“As longtime admirer of Joan Didion, we couldn’t be more excited to bring one of her most compelling works of fiction to life.  And Dee’s take on this piece has a unique tension and depth,” added Elevated’s Cassian Elwes. “The combination of the two powerhouse creatives will make for an incredible film wand I look forward to continuing my work with Rees and The Fyzz.”

Rees’ Pariah debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win many awards including the “John Cassavetes Award” at the Independent Spirit Awards, and the Gotham Award for “Best Breakthrough Director”. Rees wrote and directed the HBO film Bessie (2015) which won 4 Emmy awards including “Best Limited Series or Movie”.

The Fyzz Facility and Elevated have collaborated on a number of films, most recently: Justin Kelly’s JT Leroy starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern and Victor Levin’s comedy Destination Wedding starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder – both of which are in post-production.

ABOUT THE FYZZ FACILITY

Established in 2010 by Wayne Marc Godfrey and Robert Jones, The Fyzz Facility is a prolific production and financing company. Based in London, with offices in Los Angeles, The Fyzz Facility creates bespoke financing strategies which provide a sharp and individualized approach to each project.

The Fyzz Facility has invested more than $250m into over 200 features with an aggregate production spend in excess of a $1bn. Company credits include Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen; Johannes Roberts’ 47 Meters Down which recently became 2017’s biggest independent US box office hit, and Martin Campbell’s Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan starrer The Foreigner, which STX will release this Fall.

Other current in-house productions include Three Seconds starring Rosamund Pike, Joel Kinnaman, Common and Clive Owen; Johannes Roberts’Strangers; and Matthew Holness’ darkly twisted debut feature Possum starring Sean Harris.

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BLOOM
There cannot be a human being who has fewer thoughts on the whole question of word processing than I do. I’ve never even seen a word processor. I am hopelessly archaic. For me the typewriter hasn’t even been invented yet, so how can I speak to this matter? I protest! A man who has never learned to type is not going to be able to add anything to this debate. As far as I’m concerned, computers have as much to do with literature as space travel, perhaps much less. I can only write with a ballpoint pen, with a Rolling Writer, they’re called, a black Rolling Writer on a lined yellow legal pad on a certain kind of clipboard. And then someone else types it.

INTERVIEWER
And someone else edits?

BLOOM
No one edits. I edit. I refuse to be edited.

INTERVIEWER
Do you revise much?

BLOOM
Sometimes, but not often.
~ Harold Bloom

“So, what does it look like when he leaves the show? First, it looks like a ratings spike, and I had a nice chuckle about that. But the truth is, the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy. I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘What do you think of this guy?’ And they’re sending pictures. I was like, ‘Are you people fucking nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?’ I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there.”
Ellen Pompeo