Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) is planning on bringing her most recent stage success to the big screen, in a film adaptation of the George Brant play, Grounded. Having headlined the theatre production in New York to great acclaim in 2015 – under the direction of Julie Taymor (Frida) – Hathaway has snapped up the rights to the material, and will produce and star in the movie version.
It is a topical story, that has yet to have a director attached – but it will see the playwright, George Brant, adapt his own script. It tells the tale of a female fighter pilot and veteran of the Iraq War, and the drastic change that occurs when she is grounded due to her pregnancy. Reassigned to sit in a trailer day after day, piloting remote-controlled drones to drop bombs on anonymous targets overseas, the unnamed woman lives a life of two halves. One is her day job, and the other she lives out when she goes home to her family every night – performing every function expected of a wife and mother. Ultimately, the distance between pilot and target begins to blur, as the desert location of the air force base, and the desert location of the conflict zone blend into one, sandy landscape.
While the premise sounds incredibly similar to the 2014 film Good Kill, starring Ethan Hawke, Grounded is actually a much more interesting prospect. The stage play is a single-actor piece and, while that would be a particularly bold move on the part of the writer and producers, even a smattering of Hollywood appeasement would leave the majority of the film focused solely on Anne Hathaway, playing a complex female character.
In terms of themes, it encompasses working motherhood, the experience of women in the military, the nature and effect of remote-controlled warfare, the politics of drone strikes, and the human cost of conflict in general. Producing is a relatively new career step for Anne Hathaway, but if Grounded is the type of material she intends to deliver, audiences had better brace for some high impact movies that will, hopefully, be directed by some great filmmakers, too. Perhaps Julie Taymor, in this instance?