Stanley Kubrick‘s original screenplay “The Downslope,” a sweeping, historical action-drama he wrote in 1956, is being developed as a feature trilogy with Marc Forster (“World War Z”) attached to produce as well as direct the first film in the series, it was announced Monday.
Producers Lauren Selig (“Everest”), Barry Levine (“Hercules”) and Reneé Wolfe (“All I See Is You”) are developing the project with Forster. Selig reached out to rights holders Phil Hobbs (“Full Metal Jacket”) and Steve Lanning, who will also serve as producers on the project, which boasts the full support and encouragement of Kubrick’s family.
“The Downslope” is described as a cautionary, anti-war tale that Kubrick wrote following the release of his allegorical war film “Fear and Desire” and prior to directing his seminal WWI movie “Paths of Glory.”
The story chronicles a bitter, strategic series of Civil War battles in the Shenandoah Valley between Union General George Armstrong Custer and Confederate Colonel
Originally developed with renowned Civil War historian Shelby Foote, Kubrick’s story is based on historical events. Deeply passionate about the time period, the filmmaker spent years studying, developing and writing the story, and creating maps and notes as to how he planned to shoot the film.
“We’ve been given the unique privilege to produce a Stanley Kubrick script no one has had the opportunity to make. The first installment of the planned trilogy, written by Kubrick, is an engrossing story illustrating a crucial moment in history toward the end of the American Civil War,” said Selig.
The succeeding stories will expand upon Kubrick’s original story and journey west, as post-war Americans settled the new frontier, delivering on the country’s unbending ambitions and dreams of Manifest Destiny.
“A Stanley Kubrick script deserves a singular director, especially one so gifted working with talented actors. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Marc on this very unique and special project,” Hobbs and Lanning said in a joint statement.
“I am indebted to Stanley Kubrick and his visionary films. It is an honor and a huge responsibility to take on this project, and we’re thankful to his family for their support,” added Forster. This is a powerful work, an epic story, with its psychological landscape of brother pitted against brother, and friend against friend. We believe it will be an incredibly interesting trilogy, and a great experience sharing our mutual passion of Kubrick’s vision.”
“I had the rare opportunity to pour over Stanley Kubrick‘s handwritten notes on this script, which consist of literally hundreds of meticulous and beautifully drawn maps, sketches and journal entries. The level of passion and insight that he had for this intense period of American history is both inspiring and astounding,” said Wolfe.
Forster has directed major studio films such as “Quantum of Solace,” “World War Z” and “Stranger Than Fiction,” as well as independent character-driven films including “Finding Neverland,” “Monsters Ball” and “The Kite Runner.” He’s currently directing “All I See Is You,” which he developed and produced with Wolfe via their creative company 2Dux2. “All I See Is You” is a visually-driven drama that tells the story of a blind woman (Blake Lively) and her husband (Jason Clarke) who, upon the restoration of her sight, begin to discover previously unseen and disturbing details about themselves, their marriage and their lives.
Kubrick, who received four Oscar nominations for directing and five for writing, wrote and directed some of cinema’s most memorable and controversial films, including “Spartacus,” “Lolita,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Barry Lyndon” and “The Shining,” among many others. A number of his films, such as the aforementioned “Paths of Glory” as well as “Full Metal Jacket,” dealt with the atrocities of war and their impact on individuals and societies.