Since walking the boards all the way back in 2000 for The Newcomers, Paul Dano has steadily built a strong cinematic résumé across both acting and producing.
Collecting awards here and there for brilliant turns in Little Miss Sunshine and, more recently, as John Tibeats in 12 Years a Slave, one thing that’s been curiously missing from said résumé is a directing credit, but today, Variety brings word that Dano’s feature film debut has hit the ground running, casting both Carey Mulligan and Nocturnal Animals star Jake Gyllenhaal.
It’s called Wildlife, and will be based on Richard Ford’s eponymous coming-of-age novel that centers on a divorce as told through the lens of 16-year-old boy, Joe Brinson. While Variety didn’t disclose casting specifics, we fully assume that Mulligan and Gyllenhaal will play those parents teetering on the brink, with Zoe Kazan and Dano himself working on an adaptation of Ford’s novel. The role of Joe Brinson is yet to be cast.
Indeed, today’s casting coup marks a reunion between Dano and Gyllenhaal, who first teamed for Denis Villeneuve thriller Prisoners and will continue that streak with Okja. Here’s the Wildlife synopsis as pulled from Ford’s novel.
When Joe Brinson was sixteen, his father moved the family to Great Falls, Montana, the setting for this harrowing, transfixing novel by the acclaimed author of Rock Springs. Filled with an abiding sense of love and family, and of the forces that test them to the breaking point, Wildlife—first published by Atlantic Monthly Press in 1990 and now reissued as a Grove Press paperback—is a book whose spare poetry and expansive vision established it as an American classic.
Beyond Wildlife, moviegoers can look forward to seeing Jake Gyllenhaal on screen for Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals. Mulligan, meanwhile, has lined up WWII drama Mudbound.