Brian De Palma to Direct Gardner McKay’s ‘Toyer’ in Italy

Tarak Ben Ammar (“Hannibal Rising”) will produce the sinister adaptation with Scott Steindorff

Remember Brian De Palma, the director of such gems as "Carrie," "Dressed to Kill," "Blow Out," "Scarface," "Body Double," "The Untouchables" and "Carlito's Way"?

Well, he's been gone a long time, as in, more than a decade. How could the same filmmaker be behind "Snake Eyes," "Mission to Mars," "Femme Fatale" and worst of all, "The Black Dahlia"?

Honestly, it beats me.

Fortunately, De Palma's next movie could be the one to finally bring back the master's mojo.

After six long years, it looks as though DePalma's adaptation of Gardner McKay's novel and stage play "Toyer" will finally be getting off the ground as an independent production this fall, according to Vulture.

The premise sounds fascinating in the most diabolically sinister way possible. The Toyer is a "serial lunatic" who doesn't murder or rape his female victims, but instead chooses to sadistically "toy" with them, torturing the women psychologically before putting them into a medically-induced coma.

Without a capital crime to prosecute, the police and district attorney can only charge the Toyer with "mayhem," and eventually, his case becomes a low priority.

That prompts a female neurologist who treats the Toyer's victims to team up with a newspaper editor (shades of "Zodiac," anyone?) to draw out the maniac and bring him to justice.

Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Northam were reportedly attached to an earlier version of the project.

Tarak Ben Ammar ("Hannibal Rising") will finance and produce the latest incarnation with Scott Steindorff, who has experience bringing novels to the big screen, having produced "The Human Stain" and "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Philip Roth and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, respectively.

McKay's novel is set in Los Angeles, but DePalma has decided to set the mayhem against Venice's famous Carnevale di Venezia, a months-long festival during which people wear elaborate masks to disguise their identity.

The producers plan to re-create their own Carnival on location (can't you already picture the extended tracking shot?), as shooting would be next to impossible during the actual event.

For all of the great movies he's directed, De Palma has surprisingly never been nominated for an Oscar, and even more surprisingly, has actually been nominated for five Razzie awards, including Worst Director for "Scarface." The mind boggles!

TheWrap previously reported that John G. Avildsen will direct an indie adaptation of another McKay play, "Me."

"Toyer" is tentatively scheduled to start production in November in Italy.

De Palma is represented by ICM.