Sam Mendes Signs a Two-Year Deal With Focus Features

June 19, 2009

Sam Mendes

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!

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  • Well if he must I hope he chooses Butcher's Crossing.
  • 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
  • OJ
    Sam Mendes is not an "indie" filmmaker.
  • Peter
    Sam Mendes is a mediocre film maker. Revolutionary Road was NOT a great book, in spite of all the great reviews. And it was a piece of crap as a movie. Butcher's Crossing and Middlemarch are, however, GREAT books. Please, Specious Sam, don't do it. Don't make either of these films because you will ruin them. You make your movies as if you set out to make GREAT ART instead of just letting them live. Butcher's Crossing and Middlemarch are both GREAT WORKS OF ART, though I doubt their authors set out to create them as such. Please....if you do either book, keep as much of your pretentious worldview out of sight. Just let the characters do and say what they do and say in the books, and maybe you'll come out with a couple of half-decent pictures. For Butcher's Crossing watch the old Westerns and McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Try Anthony Mann's A bend in the River, dealt with similar themes. For Middlemarch DO NOT do anything BBC! Watch the film version of Persuasion. Keep it simple, not overly art-directed, and simply acted.




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