Gus Van Sant may go from fracking to thwacking with his next film project. At a luncheon for the director's new film, Promised Land, which deals with fracking in a Pennsylvania town, Van Sant said that he's in the process of writing a script to a "martial arts" film that is "a little bit of a superhero movie and a little bit of Stephen Chow," the director, writer and star of Kung Fu Hustle.
Van Sant's story is set in a very specific location, "Hollywood Boulevard and Gower, near the Pep Boys sign," where, he explained, an encounter with a "very frail" looking woman with bags inspired him to write the story. "I thought, Oh my God, she's going to get hit," Van Sant said. "And then I thought that maybe she has more going on than I think. Maybe I should give her more credit. Maybe she could kick my ass." That led to a story about "a small area of Hollywood that is besieged by crime" and a group of mere mortals who "get together to clean it up."
Van Sant said the story is nowhere near being ready to go before the cameras. "I have to keep writing it," he said, but perhaps it bodes well that the idea has led to other forms of creative expressions for the filmmaker. Van Sant said that he's also been creating watercolor paintings of fictional "characters on Hollywood Boulevard" that, he acknowledged, were connected to his idea for the martial-arts movie. I hope it becomes a movie.
Van Sant took part in roundtable discussions with the media at a luncheon at the midtown Manhattan restaurant Aquavit. The event was also attended by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, who co-star in the movie and co-wrote the script, which is based on a story by Dave Eggers.
Damon said that Promised Land was not a political movie but rather one about the democratic process. Regardless of the issue, he said, "if you don't engage, the decision will be made for you."
On the subject of engaging, Damon said that he and director David. O. Russell talked after the actor and director separately declared from the podium of the IFP Gotham Awards that they'd like to work with each other. The Bourne star was coy, however, about whether the meeting yielded anything more than mutual admiration. "I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of his," Damon said, adding: "I would love to work with him."
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