Frozen River writer-director Courtney Hunt’s sophomore feature, a courtroom drama titled The Whole Truth, was dealt an unexpected blow when star Daniel Craig abruptly dropped out just days before production was set to kick off. The film’s producers were left scrambling to find a replacement – but that was back in April. When no replacement was named, many of us assumed that the project had been shelved, perhaps indefinitely. Now, however, Deadline is reporting that The Matrix star Keanu Reeves has taken over the role Craig was previously set to play.
Reeves will step into the shoes of a defense attorney who fights to get his teenage client (Gabriel Basso) acquitted of murdering his wealthy father. Nicholas Kazan (Matilda, Blood Moon) will script the drama, which also stars Renee Zellwegger and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Little else is known about the film, but Craig is notoriously picky about his projects, so that he was attached at one point must mean that he saw something he liked in Kazan’s script.
No word yet on when production will begin, but presumably shooting in Boston is still the plan. With Reeves now on board, maybe The Whole Truth can finally get back on track. Though Reeves has made some poor career moves in recent years (his expensive flop 47 Ronin comes to mind), he’s a talented actor who actually gave one of his best performances in a similar role – as defense attorney Kevin Lomax in The Devil’s Advocate.
Reeves is also leading a very talented supporting cast on The Whole Truth. Zellwegger has done great work in films like Cold Mountain and Chicago, while Basso broke out with a stellar performance in The Kings of Summer. And for her part, Mbatha-Raw is hotter than ever after leading the historical period piece Belle to rave reviews. With all of them attached, Hunt directing and Kazan scripting, The Whole Truth may just be the rare legal thriller that adds something to its well-worn genre.