Novelist Tom Dolby’s debut as a writer/director hits theaters at the end of August, and he isn’t waiting around to delve deeper into the film business.
Dolby, whose Patricia Clarkson-starring film “Last Weekend” is being released by Sundance Selects, has formed Water’s End Productions and optioned several scripts and stories already, he told TheWrap on Thursday. Those projects include an adaptation of the famed John Cheever short story, “Goodbye, My Brother,” which will be scripted by “Mad Men” and “Hannibal” writer Jason Grote.
Also read: Patricia Clarkson Heads ‘Last Weekend’ Cast
Water’s End has also commissioned screenwriter Abdi Nazemian (“The Quiet”) to draft a dramatic film based on director Nicolas Ray and his relationship with his “Rebel Without a Cause” stars James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.
“That whole mythology surrounding James Dean and ‘Rebel Without a Cause is so rich, and we don’t aim so specifically to make a gay film, but I think there is room, like ‘Kill your Darlings,’ I think there really is room to reclaim James Dean as a gay icon or at least a bisexual icon,” Dolby said. “He was in Hollywood for such a short amount of time, and he had these relationships, and he’s become a mainstream sex symbol. Not to say he can’t be one, but there was a lot going on back then in the ’50s.”
Dolby, whose novels include 2004’s “The Trouble Boy” and 2008’s “The Sixth Form,” will co-write (with playwright Daniel Pearle) and direct an adaptation of a New Yorker article called “The Master,” by Marc Fisher, which details the 1970s sex-abuse scandal at the Horace Mann School.
“We’re attracted to original voices, stories that are edgy, stories that are about outsiders,” Dolby said. “As a novelist turned producer, I’m coming to film from a literary point of view. We’re looking for narratives that are really grounded in character and real life. There are a lot of underserved demographics out there, and while I’d be thrilled to provide the next popcorn movie for 14-year-old boys, I feel there are a lot of demographics not being served by those in the mainstream.”
Dolby will also collaborate with Nicole Brending on the screenplay for “The Artist’s Wife,” an original story of the wife of a renowned Hamptons abstract expressionist painter who finds solace in an affair with a young man after her husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. An unpublished novel that he wrote with husband Drew Frist will become the basis of high school sex comedy, “Sid is Dead.”
The son of late billionaire audio engineer Ray Dolby, the writer/director/producer says that the company will finance development and is looking to bring on partners to help finance production.