Writer-director Derek Cianfrance is anticipating a great response to his latest film, The Light Between Oceans. That literary adaptation is fast gathering positive word of mouth and, in promoting the film, Cianfrance has explained that his next adaptation, Empire Of The Summer Moon (co-written with Darius Marder), will be an epic re-telling of the tale of Quanah Parker.
The source material is Empire Of The Summer Moon: Quanah Parker And The Rise And Fall Of The Comanches, The Most Powerful Indian Tribe In American History, by S.C. Gwynne. Quanah Parker was a Comanche-English American who became one of the last Comanche chiefs (by U.S appointment), and who helped to settle the Comanche nation on the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation. His fascinating career within the nation was very much defined by his parentage, being the son of Comanche chief Peta Nocona, and English-American woman Cynthia Ann Parker.
Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped from her family at the age of nine, and was assimilated into the Comanche nation. She was later married to Nocona, and they had three children – two sons, and a daughter. After building a life with the Comanche for almost 25 years, Parker and her daughter – Topsanna – were recaptured by the Texas Rangers, and returned to her brother’s ranch. She was never able to re-assimilate, however, and wished to return to her sons – including Quanah. His relationship with his parents, and his mother’s experiences with her own English-American family, and the Comanche greatly influenced the growth of Quanah Parker, and enabled him to work with the U.S and his nation, essentially becoming a statesman.
In discussing his newly released film, and the upcoming Quanah Parker project with the press, Cianfrance detailed his motivations.
“I try to make ordinary people extraordinary. Or vice-versa. When I cast great actors, I try to make extraordinary people ordinary – dealing with these extremely small, intimate details of interpersonal relationships against an epic backdrop.
“I try to immerse my characters in really difficult choices, which reverberate over the course of time, which brings me back to Empire Of The Summer Moon. I’m obsessed with legacy – the passing of the torch, the passing of pain, and decisions, and the ripple effect of decisions.”
Empire Of The Summer Moon is expected to move into production in 2017, and Cianfrance has already stated that the cast will be found from with the Comanche nations. Whether this actually comes to pass remains to be seen.