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“We Could Never Go Back To It”

Jan 3, 2023

Before director Todd Field’s triumphant return to filmmaking with “TÁR,” the Academy Award-nominated “In The Bedroom” filmmaker hadn’t made a movie for 16 years. Field had nearly made dozens and dozens of films over this period—some that could have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, one with Cate Blanchett that almost happened a decade earlier than “TÁR.” But the luck of the draw for Field was that all of these projects—including an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” for producer Ridley Scott—never saw the light of day.
One project that came very close was “Purity,” a Showtime series Field was planning to write and direct starring Daniel Craig. The adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s book told the story of a young, idealist woman named Pip Tyler, who falls into a relationship with German activist Andreas Wolf (to be played by Craig), with the tale taking the characters around the world, with plenty of sex and intrigue to spice things up.
READ MORE: The Lost & Unmade Projects Of Filmmaker Todd Field
Set up at Showtime, the company even made a twenty episodes order but eventually flinched at the cost.
The project was a massive undertaking with a big commitment from Craig, but the network eventually balked. Field told The New York Times late last year that they wrote 2,000 pages for the series and that it was “big” and “had some sweep to it.” But yes, it was large and ambitious, and they didn’t ultimately have the belly for it.”
Now, in a Happy Sad Confused Podcast conversation with Field, the filmmaker explained a little more details about it and why even if another streamer or cable channel would want to salvage or rescue the never-started show, he thinks it’s now dated and wouldn’t work.
Another interesting fact about the project is just how involved Daniel Craig was. “Daniel was in the room with [writer] John and I seven days a week. We rolled up our sleeves and worked for a year on that,” Field recalled.
“I think there was a polite— words that were said, ‘Oh you know, it was a Bond thing that came up,’ but that wasn’t true,” Field insisted, about the rumors that “No Time To Die,” the final James Bond movie with Daniel Craig overtook his schedule. “It was just that the network just didn’t want to spend what the three of us thought needed to be spent to make the thing that we spent a year of our lives on.”
Could Field go back to it if someone else was interested? Sadly, no, the short version is he thinks it now feels dated. “If that material wasn’t so prophetic… and it was prophetic,” he explained. “It had… there were things in the air that wound up in that material that have unfortunately come to pass, having to do with the American government, having to do with geopolitics, having to do with a lot of things.”
“We could never go back to it now because it would feel cheap as if we were being opportunistic instead of being prophetic,” Field said with finality.
The filmmaker equated past films to like loved ones that have passed on. “[They’re] kind of like a family plot,” Field said of long and since-passed projects, noting that the Joan Didion film he worked on—that almost starred Cate Blanchett—is another that will never be resurrected. “You have these little headstones, and you have a passing acquaintance with and occasionally drop flowers on, but I don’t want to dig any of them up.”
Well, pour one out for “Purity,” the Joan Didion project, and I guess over 20 films we wish we could have seen in theaters. Listen to the entire podcast conversation below.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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