"Prisoners"' Dilemma

Because the film industry produces most of its pictures in a year as either secondary works (remakes or adaptations) or as the fulfillment of having a high concept commissioned, and because an alarming proportion of spec scripts are turned down or stumble into oblivion, I always find it interesting when a spec script is able to make it to the production rounds. Means it must be that compelling, the material rich or open enough for someone to want to play with it. (Dustin Lance Black shopped "Milk" before it eventually landed in Gus Van Sant's reliable hands.) In the case of this Aaron Guzikowski-penned spec (Endeavor is handling the project and will foot the bill if it comes together accordingly) -- titled "Prisoners" -- it hasn't quite reached pre-production since not even a director has signed firmly yet or discussed openly the potentials of the project, but its stars are aligning.

Christian Bale, my favorite actor (who appears twice on my Ten Favorites list below), is being peddled by The Hollywood Reporter to have signed onto the project along with other attached lead Mark Wahlberg. Their attachment, however, is tenuous at the moment since no bill to speak of (let alone foot) has been drafted -- pay would still need discussing. But if Bryan Singer ("X-Men," "Valkyrie") is involved as has been hinted at by both THR and Entertainment Weekly, then that gives both actors another reason to stay aboard -- assuming, of course, that they enjoy his work as much as I do and any fan of the man's best contribution to the thriller genre, "The Usual Suspects." (That movie certainly beats his latest contribution to the genre, last year's "Valkyrie," which isn't really a bad movie.) Singer said to EW late last month of the project: "I don't know yet. But I'm definitely intrigued. It's a great script. And I'd love to work with Mark." Hope he feels the same way about Christian! I do.

The script is certainly abuzz all about the internet and Hollywood -- one of the reasons these guys are latching onto the thing without signing it into contract -- which I'll assist with this premise (taken from THR):
"After his 6-year-old daughter and her friend are kidnapped, a small-town carpenter butts heads with a young, brash detective in charge of the investigation. The father is a Bible-reading, deer-hunting survivalist. The cop, meanwhile, can’t wait to get to the city. Feeling failed by the law, the father captures the man he believes responsible and begins to torture him in a desperate attempt to find out what he did with the girls, whom he’s convinced are still alive."
THR also says: "There's a lot more there, but we won't spoil it except to say the two leads have great arcs and the supporting players, especially the mothers, have juicy parts. The script is dark -- Disney ain’t touchin' this one -- and a real page-turner." Cinematical says their dreamcasting would entail Wahlberg as the cop and Christian Bale as the Bible-thumping father and I must say I can't disagree with them. Bale is absolutely compelling when he steps into brooding, heavy territory. He's got definite elements of De Niro in his style and methodology and is a brilliant actor when it comes to hypermasculine roles. And Wahlberg's already doing the daddy-gone-nuts thing in Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones" which is still slated for the Oscar season.

Imagine if this film had been done years ago, when both actors were in their physical prime (not that they're too far gone from that stage in life where such a thing is possible, but they are a little older). The dreamteam is set for a good daydream.

Who would win this battle?

SCOOPED first by: Awards Daily
IMAGES from: Celeb9 and Fused Film


  1. I hope this project comes about. Christian Bale is one of my top two favorites, along with Russell Crowe, and this sounds like a great film for him.

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  3. It does sound like a great, meaty role. There's another great showdown right there, too, Bale and Russell Crowe, maybe they'll be up for Round II one of these days. Maybe Crowe can be beckoned to work with Bale (once again) and Nolan for the next Batman film? Play a villain like Bane or something (who's much deeper than the Arnold/Clooney film let on)?