Following the well-deserved critical and financial success of her feature-length directorial debut In A World…, it seems that multi-hyphenate Lake Bell has joined the ranks of in-demand directors. She will next step behind the camera for The Emperor’s Children – an adaptation of the 2006 novel of the same name, by American author Claire Messud.
The book, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2006, follows three privileged and educated friends living in Manhattan in the months before the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Despite their advantageous positions, each of them struggles to achieve in the face of the excessive expectations placed upon them. The book is being adapted for the screen by Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) and, though Baumbach was once rumoured to be taking the director’s chair as well, that seat will now be filled by Bell.
The adaptation will be produced by Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins of Imagine Entertainment – a production company that is skilled at talent-spotting great filmmakers. It’s not difficult to find the creative skill in Lake Bell, however, since she took the 2013 Sundance Film Festival by storm with In A World…, which she wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in. She walked away with the Best Screenplay award, along with a reputation for hard work and excellence – something that is evidently paying off in the form of high profile job offers.
Placing Lake Bell at the helm of the adaptation of a book by a successful female author is an important development for the film industry – and is one to be celebrated. The combination of a real visionary behind the camera, and a craftsman behind the words, suggests that this will be a project to watch as further announcements are made with regards to casting and production schedules. Though Keira Knightley, Eric Bana and Richard Gere have been associated with previous incarnations of The Emperor’s Children, we wait to see who will now be cast in what is to be Lake Bell’s second directorial outing.