Blindsided by a documentary on Gay Talese’s New Yorker article, DreamWorks and director Sam Mendes have abruptly pulled the plug on their movie adaptation of The Voyeur’s Motel, only seven months after the project was first announced.
According to Deadline, Talese’s controversial piece, one which chronicles the story of a deceitful hotelier who claimed to spy on his guests at their most intimate, had attracted documentary filmmakers Myles Kand and Josh Koury, who contacted hotel owner Gerald Foos about a potential feature. Kand and Koury went about their business, crafting a documentary on The Voyeur’s Motel that Mendes would later discover online, of all places. And so, despite a reportedly strong first draft from Krysty Wilson-Cairns, the Spectre filmmaker and the team at DreamWorks have decided not to pursue their planned movie adaptation. It’s disappointing, then, particularly after the studio had won a heated bidding war to land film rights in the first place.
No word yet on what Sam Mendes has planned next, but you can find the director’s candid statement below.
“Nobody told us about the documentary. Nobody told DreamWorks, nobody told me. It was going on all that time; they had been making the documentary for at least a year before the publication of the book, which is one of the reasons it’s such a strong piece of work. But nobody ever told us, simple as that, which clearly is frustrating. It’s difficult to talk about it without giving away what is so wonderful about the documentary, but it has so many things that are wonderful and can only be achieved by a documentary.
“The interviews ask the question; who is the voyeur? Is it Gerald Foos, who bought the motel with the leering rooms, or is it Gay Talese, who, in a way, is equally walking a moral knife edge by writing about it? Who is the person peddling the fantasy? Is it someone who’s doing it and telling only one person, or is it someone who makes that into a published work that is read by and discussed by many thousands?”
A movie adaptation of The Voyeur’s Motel is no more. As such, Sam Mendes and his creative team will move on to pastures anew, then – just don’t expect it to involve a certain James Bond.