Lasse Hallstrom Appointed To THE HYPNOTIST

Lasse Hallström has come a long way since his big break directing pop videos for Abba during their 1970s heyday, however, having suffered a critical and commercial malaise of late- particularly with the war romance Dear John- Hallström appears keen to return to his roots with an adaptation of Swedish crime novel, The Hypnotist. The novel, which enjoys a strong readership in it's homeland, akin to Steig Larsson's celebrated Millennium Trilogy, depicts the story of detective Joona Linna who convinces a famous psychologist to use hypnosis (!) to extract pieces of evidence from an injured murder witness and is drawn in to a labyrinthine plot of dark machination and intrigue. The Hollywood Reporter has suggested that the film will begin shooting this winter with a view to a 2012 release and it will mark Hallström's first Swedish venture in 24 years. Throughout his career, Hallström has favoured the craft of adaptation to embracing originally scripted screenplays, and his vastly fluctuating fortunes, both critically and commercially, have depended upon the quality of the original text. As The Cider House Rules, Chocolat and What€™s Eating Gilbert Grape have demonstrated, with the correct material, Lasse Hallström is capable of making movies of a very high standard, however, his recent output has been far patchier. The Hoax was a very good film, although no one saw it; Hachiko was formulaic and mawkish, although it made a handsome return; and although Dear John made money, few people involved would actually boast about it. In response to these setbacks, Hallström has returned with a flurry of productivity. He took over directorial duties from Bill Condon on Salmon Fishing in Yemen, based on a much vaunted script by Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours) and is also likely to take the helm of Nicole Kidman's transgender drama The Danish Girl. Both films are potentially exciting projects and signify a return to the prestigious Oscar nominated pictures of yesteryear, but it is The Hypnotist that intrigues.
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