When Richard Linklater goes big, he goes big.
The Texas filmmaker tends to oscillate between indie fare (The Before Trilogy, Boyhood) and box office fluff (The School of Rock, Bad News Bears) with ease. Earlier this year, he revisited his salad days with his spiritual Dazed and Confused sequel, Everybody Wants Some, and now it looks like he’s ready to hop back on the blockbuster saddle.
According to Variety, Linklater has signed on to write and direct an adaptation of Darryl Ponicsan’s 2005 novel, Last Flag Flying. Better yet, he’s currently talking to past Oscar-nominees Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne to star in the picture, which may or may not be financed by Amazon Studios.
Here’s the official synopsis of the book:
Darryl Ponicsan never imagined that his first novel, “The Last Detail”, called by one critic “…the first underground triumph of the 70s…” would be a continuing story. With the invasion of Iraq, however, the same elements that inspired the original – injustice, a senseless war, men of honor and duty caught in untenable positions – compelled him to revisit Billy Bad-Ass, Mule, and the hapless Meadows, and to see how his characters were faring in post-9/11 American life. The result is “Last Flag Flying”, a story as tough and tender, sad and funny. as “The Last Detail”. The boy Billy and Mule escorted to prison has come back into their lives, now a grieving man of 52, with a gut-wrenching request they cannot deny. What follows is a retracing of their steps from 34 years before, a journey from Norfolk, Virginia, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on a mission as heart-breaking – and as exhilarating – as the first.
Ponicsan’s The Last Detail was turned into a film in 1973 and starred Jack Nicholson, which means this would be a sequel of sorts. Linklater has been insistent on tackling the source material, having had his eyes on the book since it was originally published over a decade ago. Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn out like The Rosie Project.