Sam Mendes Signs a Two-Year Deal With Focus Features
by Alex Billington
June 19, 2009
Another exclusive first-look deal for a great indie filmmaker. Oscar winner Sam Mendes has signed a two-year first-look deal with Focus Features, who most recently released his indie Away We Go. This deal includes the acquisition of two projects that could be potential directing vehicles for Mendes. One of them is called Butcher's Crossing, an epic adventure based on the 1960 revisionist Western novel by John Williams. The other is Middlemarch, an adaptation of the George Eliot novel about changing fortunes in a provincial English community in the early 1830s. Both of these sound like great new projects for Mendes.
I guess this means that the adaptation of the Preacher graphic novel that Mendes was attached to direct is definitely on the backburner? Or potentially moving on to another director? Variety says that Sam "has not committed to his next film as a director." Although, it sounds like it will probably be either Butcher's Crossing or Middlemarch. "The range of Sam's interests and skills as a filmmaker is limitless, and he is a magnet for top talent in front of and behind the camera," said Focus CEO James Schamus. He is indeed a great filmmaker, but I was looking forward to seeing him take on a comic book movie next. Oh well!
I'm also very intrigued by this deal that Mendes has made with Focus. Last week it was announced that Danny Boyle had signed a three-year deal with Fox Searchlight. Nothing wrong with these deals, both of them seem like great collaborations, I'm just wondering if this is because in our current economy, they know they don't have to take risks with either of these directors, and can expect surefire hits (almost) no matter what? Or is there something else to these deals? Whatever the case, congrats to both Mendes and Boyle!