Francis Lawrence is enjoying one hell of a career metamorphosis. The Constantine and I Am Legend director became a hot commodity after turning three of the four Hunger Games films into not only box office smashes, but pretty darn good films (while they were definitely destined to make a mint on name recognition alone, the Divergent series proved that quality still counts).
Francis also seemed to find a rather excellent collaborator in Jennifer Lawrence (no relation), who followed the Hunger Games ship captain to Red Sparrow - his Diet Paul Verhoeven sexy spy opus that found his former Katniss Everdeen baring all and using her body in the name of obtaining Cold War state secrets. While that movie somewhat underperformed in the States (to the tune of $47 mil), it cleaned up worldwide and ended up netting $150+ million, making it a modest hit globally.
While many somewhat ignored or unjustly panned Red Sparrow, it showed Lawrence stretching his directorial talents, making a movie that wasn't action-driven and in line with his usual output, but instead relied on a Hitchcockian level of suspense (see my review here). It's a solid adult-oriented thriller that many will discover on HBO down the line and wonder just why the hell they skipped it in theaters.
Now, Lawrence just signed to step behind the camera for a film based on the book Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, which details the recent case that resulted in Gawker going bankrupt and Hulk Hogan becoming an even wealthier beefcake than he already was.
The Big Short writer Charles Randolph is penning the script, but there's no word on any sort of casting as of yet, which is honestly going to be the goofiest element of this project. Getting folks to slip into the loafers of mogul Peter Thiel and Gawker's Nick Denton should be pretty easy (I mean, Rafe Spall and Ray Winstone are sitting right there). However, who the hell would you hire to do a Hulk Hogan impersonation? That's a lot of yellow spandex for an actor to fill.
You also have to wonder what role Francis will more than likely offer to Jennifer Lawrence, as this will undoubtedly be a high profile Awards contender that she'd probably want to get in on. This picture just got super interesting, as it'll be cool to watch the director continue to flex his dramatic muscles instead of crafting CGI-heavy set pieces.
No release date has been eyed for this film as of yet, but one suspects pre-production will kick into high gear, as the producers will want to beat a rival fictional take on the Gawker case that's being developed by Modern Family director Jason Winer. In the meantime, make sure to check out Brian Knappenberger's Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press over on Netflix, as it's one hell of a documentary account of this story that will more like likely make you angry AF.