African American stage and film director George C. Wolfe will direct Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine in the dramedy Harry and the Butler for Spirit Films and Playground Entertainment.
The film will center on a once jazz virtuoso, now a negligent roller-coaster mechanic (played by Samuel L. Jackson), who lives in a converted railroad car in New Orleans, when he inherits a large sum of money, and goes on a spending spree, including hiring a down-on-his-luck British butler (played by Michael Caine).
The project is loosely based on the 1962 Danish film Harry ogKammertjeneren. It’s apparently been in the works for some time; at one point, Anthony Hopkins and Morgan Freeman were attached to star.
The project is being shopped at the American Film Market (AFM) this week.
Principal photography will start on location in Louisiana in the spring of 2014 from a script penned by Damian F. Slattery.
George C. Wolfe is one of those black directors who’s been in the game for years, even though his name may not be as popular as others. That’s maybe because he’s best known for his stage directing work – from Jelly’s Last Jam, to Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, to Topdog / Underdog, A Free Man Of Color, and more.
He’s a multiple Tony Award nominee and winner.
His feature film credits include the 2008 drama/romance Nights In Rodanthe, which starred Richard Gere and Diane Lane. Before that, he directed the TV movie, Lackawanna Blues in 2005, which starred S. Epatha Merkerson.
Most recently, he signed up to direct Hilary Swank in a drama titled You’re Not You.
On Broadway, earlier this year, he directed Tom Hanks and Courtney B. Vance in a Nora Ephron play called Lucky Guy.