Winning a Best Director Oscar would seem to catapult a talented filmmaker to instant new heights and get them quick access to some of the hottest scripts and developing projects. Studios used Kathryn Bigelow (2009’s winner) and Tom Hooper’s (2010’s winner) credentials to their favour when Zero Dark Thirty and Les Misérables were released in late 2012, and those much anticipated films became big winter hits. But 2011’s winner, director Michel Hazanavicius, has been very, well, silent since his victory for The Artist.
Well, it turns out that Hazanavicius has been filming a new drama in relative secrecy since August, according to Cineuropa. An untitled and loose remake of Fred Zinnemann’s 1948 post-war drama The Search, his film stars Bérénice Bejo as an NGO employee working in Chechnya helping to unite a lost boy with his family.
The original film was one of the first major American productions to tackle issues of the Second World War and also featured Montgomery Cliff’s screen debut. It was about an American G.I. helping a young Czech boy, a survivor of Auschwitz, look for his mother after the war. It seems that Michel Hazanavicius is updating the story for modern times and relocating the story to Chechnya. The film is now shooting in Georgia and will soon move production to Paris.
Bérénice Bejo, who received an Oscar nomination for The Artist and won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for The Past this year, is also Michel Hazanavicius’s wife. The remake also reunites the director with cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman and The Artist producer Thomas Langmann.
The Search is aiming for a 2014 release, and don’t be surprised if Michel Hazanavicius tries to have a rough cut ready for next year’s Cannes Film Festival – where three years earlier, his homage to silent cinema became the festival’s most-talked about movie.