Philip Seymour Hoffman In God's Pocket

Heading up John Slattery's directing debut

He's been part of Emmy Award-winning acting teams in Mad Men and Desperate Housewives, and recently distinguished himself as Stark Sr. in the globe-conquering Marvel movies. And if that all wasn't enough, next up for John Slattery is a directing debut. He'll be behind the camera for God's Pocket, and he's clearly been earning the respect of his peers, since he's been able to pull in Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Christina Hendricks and Richard Jenkins to star.

The film's based on the novel by Pete Dexter, who also penned the source for last year's crazed Lee Daniels effort The Paperboy. If you'd prefer to forget those swamp-gothic shenangians (though that film definitely has its loony pleasures), Dexter also wrote Paris Trout and Deadwood: the former terrifyingly filmed by Stephen Gyllenhaal with Dennis Hopper, and the latter the basis for Walter Hill's Wild Bill (if not the fantastic HBO series, although it's obviously not unconnected either).

This one's a little more up-to-date and urban than its Dexter predecessors. The title God's Pocket refers to a scruffy suburb of New York, where live the dysfunctional Hubbard family. Central to the story is the razor-wielding teenager Leon, who lives with his mother Jeannie and mob-connected stepfather Mickey, until complex events that lead to his being reported dead twice. Irrevocably mixed up in the dark farce are Mickey himself, and the investigative journalist determined to bring some old-school sleuthing skills to bear.

It's not yet clear who'll be paying who, but we do know that Slattery has also co-written the screenplay with Alex Metcalf (An American Affair). Slattery and Hoffman's own production companies (Shoestring and Cooper's Town, respectively) are getting the indie film up and running, along with Park Pictures Features. Cooper's Town's Emily Ziff and Sara Murphy said in a joint statement that "God's Pocket is our kind of film. We have long been fans of John Slattery's work and Phil [Hoffman] is honoured to be a part of telling this one-of-a-kind story."