THRILLER TO SHOOT IN VENICE LATE FALL, EARLY WINTER
Claude Brodesser-Akner at New York Magazine's Vulture posted an exclusive item Friday announcing that Brian De Palma will be heading to Venice late this fall to begin shooting Toyer, a project he has been wanting to do since at least 2002. The film will shoot from late fall into early winter, according to Vulture. De Palma's screenplay for Toyer, which he adapted from the one act play by Gardner McKay (not from McKay's later novel of the same name), has been in the control of Tarak Ben-Ammar all this time. Ben-Ammar worked with De Palma on Femme Fatale, a film in which De Palma was able to follow his muse and create a stunning work of profound brilliance. As of 2006, De Palma had Juliette Binoche and Colin Firth on board to play the two leads in Toyer, and each had said they were just waiting for De Palma to be ready to film. (About the long delay, Firth had quipped that perhaps he would play Toyer's grandfather.) De Palma's adaptation is set in Venice during the winter, with a set-piece designed to take place during the Carnevale di Venezia. Part of the challenge initially seemed to be getting permission to film during the Carnival, which takes place in February and March. Scott Steindorff, who is now aboard the project as a producer, tells Vulture that it would be logistically impossible to shoot during the Carnival itself, and so they plan to re-create the Carnival on location.
"I READ THE SCRIPT-- IT'S REALLY FRICKIN' SCARY"
There was a report somewhere along the line that Ted Tally had also done some work on De Palma's script adaptation, but that has never been confirmed. In any case, Steindorff tells Vulture that De Palma's adaptation of Toyer "has all the elements of suspense that Brian does so well in films like Blow Out and Carrie. And by that I mean, it's really frickin' scary: I read the script on a plane, and I was still terrified." The Vulture post adds that "Steindorff has brought heavyweight literature like Philip Roth's The Human Stain and Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera to the screen." (Steindorff also produced the suspenseful horror film Turistas.) Brodesser-Akner also notes that De Palma's film should be creepy, as it is set against the Carnival "for which elaborate masks disguising one's identity are traditionally worn on the street from St. Stephen's Day (the day after Christmas) until the start of the Venitian Carnival (two weeks before Ash Wednesday)."
Pino Donaggio had mentioned around 2004 that he had been asked by De Palma to write the score for Toyer, something he said he was looking forward to. In a 2008 interview with Joep de Bruijn at MainTitles, Donaggio said, "And of course I would have liked to do all other films by Brian De Palma. He keeps on changing composers, but there is still something out there. He came to Venice to talk to me about The Toyer. After that meeting The Black Dahlia followed and another one. I don't know, I'll wait for it."