From 'Precious' to prison riots: New Attica movie offers an unlikely pairing
Anyone wondering what "Precious" screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher is doing after that gritty story of the urban poor -- or, for that matter, the next move for Doug Liman, the "Swingers" and "Mr & Mrs. Smith" director -- can wonder no more. The two are collaborating on an independently financed movie about the Attica prison riot of 1971, titled, well, "Attica." (Caveat: It's just development, so this likely won't be on the screen any time soon.)
Liman, who two years back directed the Hayden Christensen teleportation tale "Jumper" -- don't pretend you don't own the DVD -- and recently finished a Sean Penn thriller called "Fair Game" that will likely be at Cannes, makes a move in a gritty direction with the real-life story of hot-button guards and prisoners. (Representatives for the project also noted that Liman's father was chief counsel to the subsequent investigation.)
Fletcher hadn't written a movie before "Precious" (adapted from the novel "Push" by Sapphire) and hasn't signed on to do anything since that movie began collecting plaudits -- in fact, he told us recently that he initially conceived of himself more as a director. Now he'll get to work with one who's had one of the more unusual careers around.
Photo: Correctional officer Mark Cunningham, whose father was a prison guard killed at Attica, in front of the famed prison. Credit: Don Heupel / Associated Press