Ron Howard & Dustin Lance Black Go 'Under the Banner of Heaven'

July 19, 2011
Source: Deadline

Under the Banner of Heaven / Ron Howard

Since plans for the ambitious and unprecedented adaptation of The Dark Tower sadly crumbled at Universal yesterday, director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer seem to be filling up their future slate with other projects. We already know Howard is taking on Rush, and he's also attached to a Spy vs. Spy movie that will come together sometime down the road, but another new project has just entered the mix as well. Deadline reports Warner Bros. has tapped Howard to direct an adaptation of Jon Krakauer's book Under the Banner of Heaven with Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black set to script the film.

Here's a synopsis of the non-fiction book:

In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence.

Sounds pretty brutal and dramatic to me and likely one that could be an awards contender down the road. Howard will obviously also produce via his Imagine Entertainment banner with Grazer and actor Jason Bateman is apparently involved as a producer somehow as well. This marks another collaboration between Imagine and writer Dustin Lance Black as he also penned Clint Eastwood's J.Edgar, another film backed by Warner Bros. along with Howard and Grazer's production company. But for now, it looks like Rush will be the next immediate project for the Hollywood powerhouse duo, and with Thor star Chris Hemsworth recently taking a role in the project, it should definitely be one to keep an eye on as it develops.

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  • This already sounds like it's gonna be a SERIOUS flick.
  • Greenblade
    Careful Ron, Mormons are "in" these days!
  • Lamanite
    I'm guessing Mormon-hater Tom Hanks is behind this, what with Hanks being an Executive Producer on Big Love (where Black--an Ex Mormon--started his career) and being close pals with Ron Howard (who started Hanks' film career with Splash). Hanks' step dad was a Mormon and apparently an asshole. Hanks has been going after Mormons ever since.
    • Reelgurl
      i thought mormons can't be assholes.
      • Lamanite
        Who told you that? I've got two words for you: Glenn Beck.
  • Surf40
    How is this "going after Mormons"?  It actually happened.
  • guest
    The Krakauer book was terrible history.  Sure there are Mormon crackpots, just as every group has, but the conclusions he drew were ridiculous. 
  • one husband for life
    Every American should read this book and watch the movie before they vote for any Mormon. Stoop thinking they are so charitable. When heaven is open, the remainder of us are not invited. Hell! They won't even let us see their temple! I commend Howard and Black for bringing this terrific book to a broader audience. It really is amazing that Joseph Smith and his followers were able to hood wink so many men.
    • Reelgurl
    • Lamanite
      Gimme a break.
  • Kelmo89
    After all the books I've read about those who escaped the FLDS, I can see more silmilarities to the mainstream LDS church.  Warren Jeffs, however, took it to extreme, tyrannical, cult status.  The religion has so many "sacred and secret" sacraments.  Their sin is hidden, which allows satan to work.  Performance is the mantra.   I feel sorry for the people involved in this heretical cult.  They are deceived.  Satan's lie to Adam and Eve.."you can be like God".
  • Greenblade
    Not to over-politicize this board, but, while I agree with you that every American should read this book, the LDS folks don't hold a monopoly on scary religious beliefs. Try the dominionist beliefs of Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry. TO Lamanite: Do you consider relating historical fact as "going after" an individual or group?
  • peace&blessings
    Being the niece of Brenda Lafferty I would hope that we can all be at peace.  Our family has been through so much between the book and now the announcement of the movie.  She was an amazing woman and we are always devistated with the loss of her and Erika.  




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