Robert Zemeckis has lined up his next movie, and it ain’t The Flash. Universal Pictures and DreamWorks pictures have penciled in a November 21, 2018 release date for the untitled film from the Back to the Future and Forest Gump director, which will star Steve Carell in “in the moving true story of one broken man’s fight as he discovers how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit.” Zemeckis also co-wrote the script with Caroline Thompson, with frequent collaborators Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke on board to produce alongside the director.
The release date announcement comes on the heels of dubious rumors that Warner Bros. was courting the Oscar-winning director for their troubled The Flash movie, which is on the hunt for a new director once again after losing the first two attached filmmakers, Seth Grahame-Smith and Rick Fayumiwa. The story originated with ScreenJunkies, who reported that Zemeckis was “in talks” for the superhero tentpole, but quickly shot down by The Wrap’s El Mayimbe, who clarified that Zemeckis had taken a meeting and that’s it. It would have been pretty cool, but the release date announcement puts the nail in that coffin, so we can all lay this one to rest.
The film Zemeckis is actually making is based on Jeff Malmberg‘s critically acclaimed 2010 documentary Marwencol, which told the true story of Mark Hogancamp, a man who woke from a coma after a brutal assault with no memory of his life or family and coped with the trauma by building a 1/6 scale model of a WWII-era Belgian village in his backyard. Malmberg will executive produce with Jackie Levine. Zemeckis and Universal first set up shop on the project back in 2013, and reports at the time suggested that the film would aim for a blend of fantasy and reality — something of a specialty for Thompson, who penned the scripts for Edward Scissorhands, The Addams Family, The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that this sounds like a better fit for Zemeckis’ talents, and an exciting return to the genre after a series of historical dramas.