Joaquin Phoenix’s apparent mission to work with all the best contemporary independent filmmakers is about to continue. Following his acclaimed collaboration with Ari Aster on “Beau Is Afraid,” the Academy Award winner is teaming up with Todd Haynes in an all-new original romance.
Speaking with IndieWire’s Eric Kohn during a conversation at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, Haynes teased that he’s plotting a number of upcoming projects in the film and television spaces. Notably, the author revealed that he and Phoenix co-developed a period gay romance with frequent Kelly Reichardt collaborator Jonathan Raymond, which Haynes plans to shoot as his next film.
“All I can do is keep hunker down and commit to every project,” Haynes said when asked about the differences between working in film and television. “I have other features planned. I also have episodic projects coming up that are planned that are really exciting. I’m going back to work with Kate Winslet with something that brought me to HBO. The next film is a feature film which is an original screenplay that I developed with Joaquin Phoenix based on some thoughts and ideas he brought me. We basically wrote with him as a story writer. Jon Raymond, Joaquin, and I share story credit. And we hope to shoot it early next year. It’s a gay love story set in 1930s Los Angeles.
Phoenix has a reputation as an artist who embraces extremes, and Haynes said their partnership won’t shy away from portraying adult subjects.
“Joaquin was pushing me over and saying ‘no, let’s go over,'” she said. “This is going to be an NC-17 movie.”
The project is sure to be welcome news for admirers of Haynes’ distinct brand of queer period cinema following films like ‘Carol’, ‘Poison’ and ‘Velvet Goldmine’. But while they wait for the cameras to roll on that movie, fans of the filmmaker can look forward to its Cannes hit “May December.” The film stars Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman as a previously scandalized schoolteacher and the actress who bonds with her as she prepares to play her in an independent film. Critics praised the project for combining many of Haynes’ signature motifs with a campy sense of humor.
“A heartbreaking, heartfelt high-octane piece that pokes true human drama from tabloid sensationalism,” wrote IndieWire’s David Ehrlich in his Cannes review. “Todd Haynes’ delightful ‘May December’ continues the director’s tradition of making films based on the self-awareness that seems to elude their characters, especially those played by Julianne Moore.”
Reporting by Eric Kohn.