×

James Gray Writing, Directing ‘Armageddon Time’ (EXCLUSIVE)

James Gray is going back to school for his next feature.

“The Lost City of Z” filmmaker will write and direct “Armageddon Time,” a memoir about growing up in Queens, New York, in the mid-1980s. In a twist, Fred Trump, the Queens-based real estate developer who sired Donald Trump, and the current president will appear as characters, although the events will unfold long before there was ever a Trump in the White House.

The movie reunites Gray with RT Features, the producer of his upcoming sci-fi epic “Ad Astra.” RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira will produce “Armageddon Time.” Gray pitched Teixeira on the idea while they were shooting “Ad Astra.” It draws on his experiences as a student at the Kew-Forest School in Queens. Fred Trump served on the board of the private school and Donald Trump was an alumnus. The school’s principal will be a central character.

“It’s a personal story for James,” Teixeira told Variety. “You have the whole world of the Trumps dealing with that school and the students who go to that school.”

CAA Media Finance arranged the financing for the film and will represent the sales rights at the Cannes Film Festival. Casting is under way, with principal photography set to commence in New York early next year.

“RT Features is the best partner a director could ask for — they’ve got great taste, and they know how to support the filmmaker; I’m thrilled to be working with them again,” Gray said in a statement.

Gray’s recent work includes the upcoming “Ad Astra,” a big-budget studio picture with Brad Pitt that will debut next fall, as well as the period adventure “The Lost City of Z.” But his early work such as “Little Odessa” and “We Own the Night” was often semi-autobiographical and drew on his life in the outer boroughs.

“James is back in the independent world with this film,” said Teixeira.

Before segueing to “Armageddon Times,” Gray will next direct “I Am Pilgrim” for Matthew Vaughn’s Marv Films and MGM. Gray and RT Features are represented by CAA.

RT Features is premiering three films during Cannes this year: Danielle Lessovitz’s “Port Authority” and Karim Aïnouz’s “Invisible Life” in Un Certain Regard, and Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, in Directors Fortnight. The company’s credits include “The Witch” and “Call Me by Your Name.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content