Florian Zeller is having a great day.
Lots of people were expecting Anthony Hopkins to earn an Oscar nomination this morning for his performance in Zeller’s feature directorial debut The Father, but little did we know that would be just one of several nominations the movie would pick up – including one for Best Picture. Not bad for his first movie. In the wake of his big morning, Zeller revealed that he wants his next movie to be an adaptation of The Son, which, like The Father, is based on one of his own stage plays. Learn more about that project below.
“Now I know that this is the story I want to tell as a film,” Zeller told Deadline today. “It’s pretty clear in my mind. The only thing that I want to do actually, is to do The Son…I’m finishing the script right now.”
Zeller’s The Son (not to be confused with the upcoming limited series that reunites Denis Villeneuve and Jake Gyllenhaal), is based on his 2019 play, which tells the story of a teenaged boy named Nicolas who is struggling in the aftermath of his parents’ divorce. He’s acting out and skipping school, and when he goes to live with his father instead of his mother, things go from bad to worse. I haven’t seen the play, but reviews praise it for its accurate and frightening recounting of teen depression. And since The Father deals with the harrowing topic of dementia, Zeller could quickly become one of Hollywood’s foremost purveyors of bleak but human experiences.
Evidently Zeller already has someone in mind to star in The Son, but he’s being cagey about revealing that person’s identity. “I really love actors; I love working with them,” he said. “But also, to me, to love and to admire an actor is something that’s the beginning of the process for me, of the writing, of the dreaming, and so, yes, I have my actors, at least in my head. I don’t know if it will be the reality or not. But we will see.”
The Son is the third entry in a sort of trio of related plays from Zeller with the other entry being The Mother, which, like The Father, questions the nature of reality, but this time through exploring the story of a mother whose children have grown up and moved on, leaving her alone and unsure of her place in life. Don’t be surprised if that becomes Zeller’s follow-up to The Son.
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