As filmmakers continue to experiment with narrative and structure, movies do seem to be getting longer. It is still rare though for a wide release to go past the two and a half hour mark (Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street being an exception). Consequently, filmmakers like Todd Haynes (Mildred Pierce), Frank Daranbont (Mob City) and Jane Campion (Top of the Lake) have turned to television for long form storytelling. Here are 5 filmmakers who have joined this migration in 2014.
The debut of True Detective, the new HBO mini-series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, is one of this year’s most anticipated television events. Helmed by Cary Fukunaga, the visionary director behind Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre, this gripping crime drama follows a pair of detectives over the course of 17 years as they hunt for a serial killer in the Louisiana bayou. Fukunaga’s keen eye and stylistic (but never over the top) flare will only enhance this exploration of masculinity, duty and depravity in the deep South.
The Spoils of Babylon
While Matt Piedmont’s only film directing credit is the underrated Spanish Language tele novella parody, Casa de mi Padre, his comedic chops are well established. As a former writer of SNL and a frequent collaborator of Will Ferrell, Piedmont was the perfect choice to direct The Spoils of Babylon, a spoof of epic mini-series events like The Thorn Birds. Starring Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Jessica Alba and Val Kilmer, this series covers 50 years in the lives of the powerful Morehouse family in just 180 minutes.
The Red Road
James Gray (Little Odessa, The Yards, Two Lovers) is one of the most underappreciated auteurs working today. With his old school sensibilities and strange knack for gritty melodramas (a strange combination of skills we admit), Gray is a perfect choice to direct the first episode of The Red Road, the new Sundance Channel series helmed by Prisoners screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski. Starring Jason Momoa, Martin Henderson, Julianne Nicholson and Tom Sizemore, this drama revolves around a local sheriff, struggling to keep his family together as he keeps the peace between his town and the neighboring Ramapo Mountain Indians community.
Retirement be damned! After his success on the small screen with Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh has teamed up with Cinemax for a new series entitled The Knick. Set in 1900 in downtown New York City, this mini-series stars Clive Owen and centers on the staff of the Knickerbocker Hospital who made important contributions to medicine despite incredibly adverse circumstances. So long as Soderbergh continues to push himself as an artist and storyteller, we will continue to watch him.
Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, Laurel Canyon, The Kids Are All Right) recently has been announced as the director of Olive Kitteridge, the upcoming HBO mini-series starring Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Richard Jenkins and John Gallagher Jr. McDormand herself bought the film rights to Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, and Cholodenko’s ability to draw pathos and humor out of the tragic and mundane makes her to the perfect choice to direct this Maine based small-town drama.