VENICE — Helmer Bob Gosse, here for Saturday night’s world premiere of his feature “Niagra, Niagra” at the Venice Film Festival, has unveiled his next project, “A Violent Act,” a screen adaptation by Gosse of journalist Alec Wilkinson’s nonfiction novel about a series of murders and their aftermath in rural Missouri in 1986.
Gosse is a co-founder with Larry Meistrich of the Shooting Gallery (“Sling Blade”), which produced “Niagra” and is backing Gosse’s next effort. Meistrich will exec produce with Shooting Gallery exec VP David Bushell. Wilkinson’s book began as a story in the New Yorker, detailing the violent spree by a mentally disturbed drifter who killed his parole officer and, after claiming two more victims, became one of the FBI’s most-wanted criminals.
“I’ve tried to tell a story that unpacks the fallout of such a rampage,” Gosse told Daily Variety, likening Wilkinson’s book to Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.” The story focuses on the parole officer’s grief-stricken widow as she and her two young sons cope with the tragedy while the town is stirred to hysteria by a massive manhunt.
Fest director Felice Laudadio surprised many Lido veterans by his choice of the Shooting Gallery’s “Niagra,” a low-budget, no-stars pic by an unknown helmer, for the prime Saturday-night slot. But Laudadio’s praise of the film has piqued festgoers’ curiosity.
In addition to “Sling Blade,” the Gotham-based Shooting Gallery has produced Nick Gomez’s “The Laws of Gravity” and “Ill Town,” Michael Almereyda’s “Another Girl, Another Planet” and the upcoming Hal Hartley effort, “Henry Fool.”