Deadline is exclusively reporting that Focus Features are in final talks to fund and distribute worldwide the James Gray drama Armageddon Time, which has Robert De Niro, Oscar Isaac, Donald Sutherland, Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett attached to star.
Armageddon Time is a drama based on Gray’s childhood memories being put into a big-hearted coming-of-age feature that explores friendship and loyalty against the backdrop of an America poised to elect Ronald Reagan as President.
James Gray spoke to Deadline saying:
[It] is very much about people, about human emotions and interactions between people, and I want it to be filled with warmth and tenderness. In some sense, yes it’s about my childhood, but an illustration of familial love really on every level. I’m of the belief that most people do their best and that they try their best under difficult circumstances and in some sense that’s a beautiful thing and very moving to me. In a grander sense if I may sound a little sententious and pretentious, history and myth always begin in the microcosm of the personal and though you are using something so small and specific in your life, the result can become universal if it accesses real emotion. I’ve tried to move to the opposite of a cold dark space. I want to be political and historic about it, but fill it with love and warmth. What happened with me, very simply, I got in big trouble when I was around 11, though the boys are 12 in the movie, and the story is about my movement from the public education that I got into private school and a world of privilege. This film is about what that meant for me and how lucky I was, and how unlucky my friend was and about that break meant for me and what it meant for him.
Wild Bunch International introduced the film to buyers at the Cannes virtual market last week and sources from Deadline states that the commitment from Focus Features looks set to be in the $15m range. The film is set to begin production at the start of 2021, likely to be shot in New York.