[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hilst the Dutch filmmaker finishes up his terrorist thriller, the Phillip Seymour Hoffman starring Most Wanted Man, news comes that he is set to direct a James Dean biopic which will tell the story of the icon’s friendship with Life Magazine photographer Dennis Stock.
This continues a current trend in movie-land, following Hitchcock and My Week With Marilyn, whereby the focus of biopics tend to be a on a specific period in the subject’s life rather than the traditional birth-to-death narrative.
Stock first met Dean when he was a young photographer working for the Magnum Agency. A life changing moment saw Stock given an assignment to photograph a then unknown Dean, who was shooting his 1955 breakthrough East of Eden.
The two then embarked on a journey from L.A to New York to Indiana, with Stock capturing images of Dean that have now reached iconic status. Dean, who only starred in three films, would then go on to tragically lose his life in September 1955 when his Porsche 550 Spider, reportedly travelling at speeds of 85mph, crashed into another car. He was 24 years old.
Luke Davies (Candy) will write the film, now titled Life. Corbijn will be given a $10-$15m budget with shooting expected to start in early 2014. Ian Canning, the producer behind The King’s Speech and Shame, will be producing with his See-Saw Films partner Emile Sherman.
It is nice to see Corbijn, a former photographer himself, returning to biopics following 2007’s graceful Control. Control detailed the last years of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis. He then went on to direct George Clooney in stylish thriller The American.
Most Wanted Man, also starring Rachel McAdams, will be released later this year.