A BRIEF LOOK AT THIS UPCOMING PROJECT
As I wrote last week, Brian De Palma has been thinking about ways to film Toyer since at least 2002, when he indicated that he "had an idea to make a very scary movie, based on a kind of serial murderer that preys on tourists." Later that year, Le Paradis' Carl Rodrigue & Tony Suppa interviewed De Palma and asked him about Toyer. De Palma explained:
This is material based on a book and a play by Gardner McKay called TOYER [De Palma later stressed that his film was based on the play, and not the book]. People have been trying to do it for decades. It's a very intensive psychodrama between two characters, but no one's figured out how to open it up and make it work as a movie. I got an idea how to do it, and I pulled it off the shelf last year and adapted it. It took us quite a while to obtain the rights to the material because Gardner died last year and we had to deal with his estate and his widow. Finally, we were able to work out a deal. It's a very terrifying piece of material. It's been terrifying for over thirty years...
De Palma had taken McKay's play and expanded it, adding De Palma touches such as flashbacks that repeated certain scenes from different perspectives, newly invented characters, and locations to provide set pieces for a true blue De Palma film.
In 2005-2006, as post-production work was being done on The Black Dahlia, there were rumored to be plans to shoot Toyer in Venice, Paris, and London. One new character is an English surgeon named Laura Manning, and it had been rumored in 2004 that Tilda Swinton was in talks for that role. With the various settings, of course, an international cast was planned, and Giancarlo Giannini had been rumored for the role of the Italian Inspector Scarlatti. With a four/five-year gap since the project was last considered, the casting has started anew, and it will be interesting to see who fills out some of these roles this Fall.
DON'T LOOK NOW & DONAGGIO
As noted earlier, De Palma had planned to have Pino Donaggio compose the score for Toyer, and I suspect that will still be the plan. Donaggio also scored Nicolas Roeg's Venice-set thriller Don't Look Now in 1973. De Palma briefly discussed Don't Look Now in 2002 with Rodrigue and Suppa. "I love the way Roeg shot Venice in that period," De Palma said. "I always wanted to shoot a movie in Venice in the winter."
THIERRY ARBOGAST, DANTE FERRETTI
Also in 2005-2006, Thierry Arbogast was set to be the cinematographer on Toyer, and Dante Ferretti, having just worked with De Palma on The Black Dahlia, was getting ready to jump onto the Toyer project, as well. Hopefully this dream team is still available... Incidentally, Ferretti will be honored at next month's Venice Film Festival. On the morning of September 10th, Ferretti will receive the Premio Bianchi prior to the premiere of Gianfranco Giagni's hour-long documentary, Dante Ferretti: Production Designer. The film will then be shown on Italian TV in October.