Leave Stanley alone!
Whenever an creative person dies, someone like J.D. Salinger, chances are they’re going to leave reams of unpublished or unproduced material. And while the part of me that respects their work is anxious to see that material see the light of day, the common sense motherfucker wants that shit buried where it can’t be tainted. It’s not just words on a page that make something magical, but the artist’s integral vision and styling. The shit’s unfinished for a reason.
When Stanley Kubrick passed, he supposedly left behind several unproduced screenplays and projects. One of them was Lunatic at Large, a project penned by my favorite grizzled noir-smasher, Jim Thompson. It deals with a psychotic ex-carnival worker who escapes from a mental institution and meets up in a bar with a young lady. I’m picturing this in black and white with the hardboiled edge of Jim Thompson working — his usual bastard narration and mean-spirited characters getting the hell beat out of them.
Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson are attached, which is probably the best fit you can find for a Thompson project — other than Casey Affleck and Jessica Alba in the upcoming The Killer Inside Me. Thompson protagonists are wiry and dangerous like a coiled serpent, and the bombshells are usually curvy and pouty-lipped. The kind of girl you’d see smoking a cigarette and eating a piece of diner pie. So that’s not the part that worries me.
They’ve got Stephen R. Clarke writing and Chris Palmer possibly set to direct. Don’t recognize the names? Of course you don’t. Clarke’s done some script work on television shows you’ve never heard of and Palmer’s a fucking commercial director. So these are the guys to take up Kubrick’s mantle? Fuck and that. You want someone to do Thompson type work? John Hillcoat, James Mangold, hell even Sam Mendes or even Casey’s big brother, Ben.
Two letters make me worry the fuck out of the project: A.I. Spielberg got his hands on the Kubrick property and worked his “magic” and the final project was an unholy mess. You could literally see the dividing lines between the Kubrickian elements and Spielberg’s little artsy touches, which is why you get a talking teddy bear-andriod paired with a sexbot.