‘Humble Idiot’ Tony Kaye Lands Tribeca Debut

“Detachment” added to festival lineup; documentary about the Kings of Leon joins slate as well

Tony Kaye, the controversial "American History X" director whose eccentricities and deliberate provocations burned many bridges in Hollywood, has been added to the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival with his new film, "Detachment."

Adrien BrodyThe film, which will make its world premiere at TFF, follows several high school teachers, administrators and students and stars Adrien Brody (left), James Caan, Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Hendricks, Blythe Danner and Bryan Cranston. The TFF press release calls it "a unique and stylized portrait of the American education system."

The festival has also added a work-in-progress screening of "Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon," a Stephen C. Mitchell documentary about the multiplatinum alternative rock band.

The 58-year-old British-born Kaye made his name directing commercials and music videos; his first feature, 1998's "American History X," won an Oscar nomination for its star, Edward Norton. But the director publicly battled with Norton and with New Line during post production on that film: he brought a priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk into one meeting; had the movie pulled from the Toronto Film Festival; tried to have his name taken off the film in favor of the pseudonym "Humpty Dumpty"; sued the Directors Guild of America when it ruled he couldn't do that; showed up dressed as Osama Bin Laden to an acting class being filmed by Marlon Brando; and in general, he admitted in a 2002 article in the Guardian, acted like "an immature idiot, and a complete egomaniac."

Now, he said, he enjoys being "a humble idiot," and isn't bothered by the fact that he might be "a complete failure as a film-maker."

His 2006 documentary about abortion, "Lake of Fire," garnered rave reviews. But his last narrative feature, the crime drama "Black Water Transit" with Laurence Fishburne and Karl Urban, screened at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival but has not received a theatrical release.

The Tribeca Film Festival begins on April 20 and runs through May 1 in lower Manhattan.

(Photo by Tony Kaye)