A previously-unproduced original screenplay by the late Stanley Kubrick titled The Downslope is being developed as a trilogy of feature films with Finding Neverland and World War Z director Marc Forster attached to direct and produce the first film. Forster will also work alongside producers Lauren Selig (Black Mass, Everest), Barry Levine (Hercules, Oblivion) and Reneé Wolfe (All I See Is You) in developing the material.
The rights holders to the script, Phil Hobbs (who co-produced Full Metal Jacket with Kubrick) and Steve Lanning, will also serving as producers on the project, which has the full support and encouragement of the Kubrick family.
A sweeping, historical action-drama Kubrick wrote following the release of his allegorical war film Fear and Desire, and prior to directing his seminal WW I period piece, Paths of Glory, and like both, The Downslope is a cautionary, anti-war tale.
The Downslope focuses on a bitter, strategic series of Civil War battles in the Shenandoah Valley between Union General George Armstrong Custer and Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby, known as the Gray Ghost for his stealth and elusiveness. His cavalrymen, known as Mosby’s Rangers, continually outsmarted the much larger enemy forces in a sequence of raids, which enraged Custer and eventually created a fierce cycle of revenge between the two men.
Originally developed with renowned Civil War historian Shelby Foote, Kubrick’s story is based on historical events. Deeply passionate about the time period, Kubrick spent years studying, developing and writing the story, and creating maps and notes as to how he planned to shoot the movie. The two films following will expand upon Kubrick’s original story and journey west, as post-war Americans settled the new frontier, delivering on the country’s unbending ambitions and dreams of Manifest Destiny.
“We’ve been given the unique privilege to produce a Stanley Kubrick script no one has had the opportunity to make,” producer Lauren Selif states. “The first installment of the planned trilogy, written by Kubrick, is an engrossing story illustrating a crucial moment in history toward the end of the American Civil War.”
“A Stanley Kubrick script deserves a singular director, especially one so gifted working with talented actors,” Hobbs and Lanning said. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Marc on this very unique and special project.”
“I am indebted to Stanley Kubrick and his visionary films,” Forster said. “It is an honor and a huge responsibility to take on this project, and we’re thankful to his family for their support. This is a powerful work, an epic story, with its psychological landscape of brother pitted against brother, and friend against friend. We believe it will be an incredibly interesting trilogy, and a great experience sharing our mutual passion of Kubrick’s vision.”
“I had the rare opportunity to pour over Stanley Kubrick’s handwritten notes on this script, which consist of literally hundreds of meticulous and beautifully drawn maps, sketches and journal entries,” adds Renee Wolfe. “The level of passion and insight that he had for this intense period of American history is both inspiring and astounding.”
Multiple Academy Award nominree, Kubrick received Oscar nomiantions for his screenplays of Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, and Full Metal Jacket.