×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CANNES: Michel Hazanavicius to Direct ‘Will’ Starring Zach Galifianakis (EXCLUSIVE)

Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning helmer of “The Artist” who has “The Search” competing at Cannes, will next direct “Will,” Paramount’s comedy produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Zach Galifianakis is attached to topline the project, which was first unveiled nearly two years ago.

In an exclusive interview with Variety, Hazanavicius said he recently met with the project’s writer Demetri Martin (“Late Night With Conan O’Brien”) to read the latest version of the script. “I think the script looks great.” Hazanavicius said he and “The Hangover” star were looking forward to working together on the movie. “He’s extremely funny, and can convey great sincerity and humanity even when he’s delivering big gags,” said Hazanavicius, who added that Paul Rudd is in talks to star as Will. Galifianakis will play Will’s rebellious guardian angel.

“‘Will’ has been in the starting blocks for a while because I (started) ‘The Search.’ After making ‘The Artist’ I received a lot of proposals but figured it was the right timing for me to direct ‘The Search’ because we were able to finance it without too much difficulty and it’s a film that was important for me to make,” Hazanavicius said, adding that he expected the production to either start at the end of the year or early 2015.

Hazanavicus said he will then likely move on to direct “In the Garden of Beasts,” the Universal Pictures/Tom Hanks’ Playtone project based on Erik Larson’s nonfiction book “In the Garden of Beasts.”

Scribe Eric Roth is expected to pen a treatment of the adaptation, according to various sources.

Natalie Portman is in talks to star as Hanks’ daughter. Hanks is producing with Gary Goetzman and Peter Cramer at Playtone.
“The Search,” a drama set in war-torn Chechnya with Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening, will premiere in competition May 21. A remake of Fred Zinnemann’s Oscar-winning 1948 film of the same title, Hazanavicius’ pic centers around the bond between an NGO worker and a young boy.

Hazanavicius said he had been wanting to make a film about the Chechen war for a long time and was looking for the right vehicle, which he found with Zinnemann’s movie. Hazanavicius had gone through a similar process with “The Artist,” winner of five Oscars, among dozen of international awards. The helmer had the idea of making a silent film in back and white before coming up with the story of fading American star George Valentin, a role that earned Jean Dujardin the best actor prize in Cannes in 2011.

Wild Bunch handles international sales on “The Search.” Worldview Entertainment has North American rights.

More Film

  • 'The Pledge' Review

    Film Review: 'Pledge'

    “Privilege comes with sacrifice” says one character to another in “Pledge” — exactly the kind of noble sentiment authority figures always voice to hush the protests of those about to be sacrificed. This third feature for director Daniel Robbins is no delicate flower of cinematic art, but a lean and mean shocker that tells its [...]

  • John Lithgow

    John Lithgow-Blythe Danner's 'Tomorrow Man' Bought Ahead of Sundance Premiere

    In one of the first deals for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, Bleecker Street has acquired North American rights to the John Lithgow-Blythe Danner romance “The Tomorrow Man.” The movie will hold its world premiere at the fest, which opens on Jan. 24 in Park City, Utah. The distributor is planning a May 17 release. [...]

  • Dragon Ball Super Broly

    'Dragon Ball Super: Broly' Scores Big First Day With $7 Million

    Funimation Films’ Japanese anime movie “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” has opened impressively with a dominant first-day total of $7 million at 1,260 North American locations on Wednesday. The English-language version of “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” which screened at 180 Imax and Cinemark XD premium large format screens, generated by far the best per-screen average among [...]

  • Shoplifters Cannes

    Box Office: 'Shoplifters' Hits $2 Million to Become One of 2018's Highest-Grossing Foreign Films

    Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” has become an unexpected box office success. The Japanese drama about a petty thief who adopts a young girl has earned critical raves and picked up the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. That translated into commercial success for Magnolia, the indie distributor that’s been overseeing the film’s rollout. “Shoplifters” [...]

  • C'est La Vie TIFF

    French Films' Overseas Box Office Revenue Drops 51% in 2018

    After bouncing back in 2017, the overseas box office revenue of French movies plummeted by 51% to 237 million euros ($270 million) with 40 million admissions sold, a 52% year-on drop, in 2018. The provisional box office figures were unveiled by UniFrance during a reception hosted at France’s culture minister during which Eric Toledano and [...]

  • Isabela Moner Shameik Moore Kiernan Shipka

    Netflix Casts Starry Ensemble for Adaptation of John Green's 'Let It Snow'

    “Dora the Explorer’s” Isabela Moner, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s” Shameik Moore, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s” Kiernan Shipka, “Lady Bird’s” Odeya Rush, Jacob Batalon, Miles Robbins, Mitchell Hope, Liv Hewson, Anna Akana, and Joan Cusack are set to star in the Netflix pic “Let It Snow.” The film is based on the New York Times bestselling [...]

  • Brian Tyree Henry Playback Podcast If

    Listen: From 'Beale Street' to 'Spider-Verse,' Brian Tyree Henry Was Your 2018 MVP

    Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor Brian Tyree Henry is coming off a sensational year. A second, acclaimed season of FX’s “Atlanta” sent him headlong into a fall movie season that saw featured roles in Yann [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content