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