At the same time Warner Bros were pushing an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand under his nose, Harry Potter director David Yates was getting to grips with Cicero, a proposed gangster film (possibly even a trilogy) based on the life and crimes of Al Capone. The epic Warner Bros project, said to be in the vein of the real classics – The Public Enemy, Little Caesar and Angels With Dirty Faces, i.e. – the movies that made Warner Bros back in the 40′s, would follow the rise of Capone during prohibition in Chicago before eventually being taken down because of all things, tax evasion.
Yates wanted to craft The Godfather of the 21st century and fittingly the Walon Green (The Wild Bunch) written script actually originates from the 70′s where it was intended to be a t.v. pilot for a lengthy series. Four decades on the project has been re-jigged by the veteran Green himself for film!
Over the summer Yates was making overtures to Tom Hardy to star in what for us was on the nose perfect casting and very quickly it seemed like all the ingredients of a modern day epic was coming together. The only problem that stopped it filming this winter? Tom Hardy’s scheduling. The actor who for way too long flew under most casting directors radar’s was shot to a whole new level of fame after Inception, and is now regularly seen on most Hollywood casting lists. He has spent all summer shooting the role of the villainous Bane for Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and next year will be taking on the mantle of Mad Max for George Miller’s updated take on the former Mel Gibson starrer.
Having worked non-stop for the past two years Hardy is in need of a rest and the project just wasn’t ready to be shot right now and in such a short time frame before Mad Mad: Fury Road. But just because Cierco can’t be made now doesn’t mean it won’t ever be done.
As part of the same interview with Collider where he revealed he would no longer direct The Stand, Yates reveals he remains dedicated to bringing the new Capone biopic to life but we are a few years from seeing it happen;
“That’s still something I’m very passionate about. It’s with a wonderful producer called John Lesher. He’s really amazing and inspiring. I’m still very committed to that. It won’t happen next year or the year after, it’s a slow burn. It’s quite a big—cause that’s such a mythic character in American history, and I want to do it in a way that’s surprising and interesting. And the writer Walon Green is a really wonderful writer, he’s a really lovely old-school writer…There’s some great action set pieces, there’s also a really compelling character. He was amazing, he was very, very young when he built his empire. I love the notion of making a film about a bad man who’s trying to be a good father and a good husband, and he’s just a very compelling character. So yeah, Capone is still very much on the table.”
So it won’t happen in 2012 or 2013 but could happen in 2014 which we’re fine with. Yates and Green can collaborate on making this Capone biopic the best it can be and obviously by 2014 Hardy will have all his commitments and other roles out of the way to get to grips with this infamous historical figure.
As I said in the summer… Hardy as Capone would frikkin rule… he has the screen presence to play a man who was dubbed ‘Untouchable’ in his time and who acted like he had the power of kings and it’s the kind of meatier role on the grand stage that he would relish. Finally, here’s a character piece that could be molded for Hardy – stepping into the shoes of the likes of Rod Steiger, Jason Robards and Robert De Niro – but like Johnny Depp did with Dillinger, making the man truly his own.
In the mean time then Yates says he will have to commit to his next project soon and hinted to Collider that it will be something on a small scale…
“[I’m deciding between] a few different things, and I have to make a commitment quite soon. But I’ve had some time off to really think about that commitment, and I’ve been sort of holding these two or three things and trying to figure out which one to go with, and I didn’t wanna make that choice while I was still adrenalized and tired from finishing off four movies back-to-back…I’d love to make something right about the spring/summer next year, that’s the plan, and it’s gonna be one of these three or four things.”
One of those three or four things then won’t likely be Warner Bros’ adaptation of Bill Winningham’s Fables comic series as that is a grand under-taking potential franchise. Fables was one of the projects Warner Bros were throwing at him over the summer.
The most likely candidate then is the adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s family funeral dramedy book This Is Where I Leave You about a family coming together at the death of a patriarch, and an attempt to seal old wounds. If Yates is exhausted after Harry Potter then obviously that is a film with little demand.