It was a few years’ back now that Stanley Kubrick’s son-in-law, Philip Hobbs, discovered the work for a film called Lunatic At Large in amongst the masses of paperwork the director left behind after his death. Hobbs told the New York Times in 2006 that his father-in-law was “always saying he wished he knew where it was, because it was such a great idea”.
It wasn’t so much a screenplay, to be fair, that Hobbs put his hands on, rather a treatment that was written by Jim Thompson. Kubrick had commissioned that treatment in the late 1950s.
Thompson and Kubrick had worked together previously on Paths Of Glory and The Killing, and Lunatic At Large is described by The New York Times as “a dark and surprising mystery of sorts, in which the greatest puzzle is who, among several plausible candidates, is the true escapee from a nearby mental hospital”.
The film called for two main characters: Johnnie Shepherd, “an ex-carnival worker with serious anger management issues”, and Joyce, described as “a nervous barfly he picks up in a Hopperesque tavern scene”.
And after one or two protracted attempts to get the film made since the treatment for it was discovered, it seems that Lunatic At Large is finally set to go before the cameras. The director for the film hasn’t yet been confirmed – Chris Palmer was linked a few years’ back, but it’s unclear if he’s still involved – yet, the two leading roles have seemingly been cast.
The role of Johnnie, it’s been reported by Production Weekly via Twitter, looks like it’s gone to the marvellous Sam Rockwell. Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson has apparently signed up to play Joyce.
With the cast on board, we’d imagine that Lunatic At Large will be heading before the cameras later this year, with an eye, we’d imagine, on a release in 2011. Unless whoever directs it gets all Kubrickan on us, of course…
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