It seems that director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) likes a good reality-based tale, as this specific trend continues to attract top-level talent to his projects. Such is the case with The Founder, which is about to begin production with a 2014 Black List script by Robert Siegel that tells the story of the phenomenal rise to global domination of the McDonalds restaurant chain, and the man that masterminded its success, Ray Kroc.
Kroc – a Chicago-born entrepreneur who drove Red Cross ambulances in the first World War – spotted the franchise potential of a restaurant operation run by Richard and Maurice McDonald. After opening the inaugural location of McDonalds Inc. in Illinois, Kroc quickly built a reputation for aggressive business strategies and eventually managed to take the empire from the brothers – building it into a worldwide success.
Kroc was married three times, and two-time Academy Award nominee Laura Dern is in negotiations to star as his first wife, Ethel Fleming. Fleming and Kroc were married from 1922 to 1961, encompassing his joining the McDonald operation as a franchise agent in 1955, and his subsequent efforts to stimulate growth. Dern would join Academy Award nominee Michael Keaton, as he takes the lead role of Ray Kroc.
The Founder already has distribution lined up, courtesy of The Weinstein Co. – with a release date set for November 25th, 2016. This slot will see the movie arrive in theatres at the end of a month currently set to also bring us Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – so it may well be that Hancock’s latest biopic will set cash registers ringing as a viable alternative to these action-based, fantasy movies. It is also a notable release slot in terms of awards season consideration.
Little is currently known about the wider cast of The Founder, but with cameras about to roll, we should hear further announcements soon. In this tale of ambition and corporate drama, there are several other prominent roles up for grabs – and if the early calibre of talent is any indication, we could be looking at a real awards contender.