It's an announcement to strike fear into even the most steel-hearted cinema-goer: Gaspar Noe is in talks to direct The Golden Suicides, from a screenplay by Brett Easton Ellis and Gus Van Sant.
Not usually a director-for-hire, the idea that Noe (the controversial talent behind Seul Contre Tous, Irreversible and Enter the Void) could be employed on someone else's project is an odd one. Ellis' involvement could be a clue to the attraction however: the author's penchant for mixing the bleak, the violent and the absurd seeming a good fit for an artist who told a botched-rape-revenge drama backwards and made a three-hour FX extravaganza from the POV of a dead guy.
The Golden Suicides stems from a Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales, and is based on the true story of the double suicide of Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan, popular New York artists who, for reasons unknown, became increasingly paranoid that they were being conspired against by the US government and the church of Scientology. Duncan overdosed on Tylenol in July 2007, and Blake is believed to have drowned himself in the Atlantic a week later.
We'd previously thought this a possible new entry in Van Sant's Death cycle (Gerry, Elephant, Last Days), but while Noe is reportedly only one of several names in contention at this point, there no longer seems to be any mention of Van Sant at all.
Mysteries to unravel then (Noe will be pleased), with Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner of production companies Muse and Hero, currently schmoozing deals at Cannes. More news as it arrives.