Ti West is one of the best young filmmakers out there in my opinion, and I can’t wait to see what he’s able to do with his upcoming foray outside of our beloved genre with In a Valley of Violence, which stars such big names as John Travolta, Ethan Hawke, Karen Gillan, and Taissa Farmiga.
Unless you count a brief appearance from Lena Dunham in The Innkeepers, his movies have never really featured A-List celebrities. He’s worked with a lot of great actors and actresses, but not the kind of names that are as recognizable as what his films are attracting these days.
With that in mind, I was very interested to learn that he almost made a movie that would have starred none other than Nicole Kidman. Apparently she liked House of the Devil so much she wanted to work with West, and he even wrote a script for her that was actually greenlit. The movie just never happened.
This is according to AJ Bowen, the star of West’s last film The Sacrament (who also appeared in West’s House of the Devil and alongside him in Adam Wingard’s Your’e Next). Bowen recently appeared on the 100th episode of the Killer POV podcast. He was casually talking with the show’s hosts about how smart West is, and spilled this little anecdote:
“He had a meeting with her because she liked House of the Devil…so she asked him…she was like, ‘I would love to make a movie with you. Do you have anything for me?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ve got a thing for you,’ and she was like, ‘Tell me about it,’ so he improvised his way through a thing that he was like, ‘She might be into this,’ and he told her, and she was like, ‘That’s great. Can I read a script?’ and he was like ‘Well, you know what? Since you’re interested in it, I would like to re-write it and revise it so can you give me five days to do that? Can you give me five days to take a look at it and you know and make sure that the grammar…like make sure I didn’t mess any of that up so it looks professional, and then I’ll give it to you.’ And she was like, ‘That would be great.'”
“Ti went home and wrote that script in four days, gave it to her, and she was like, ‘This is phenomenal. I want to do it,’ and it got greenlit, and then the way that most things work…like you know it’s so impossible to get a movie made even if it’s greenlit. Even if there’s money in the bank.”
Bowen did not give a title or talk about what the script was about, but Kidman is a great actress, and it’s unfortunate that the project never came to fruition. Maybe one day. It’s unclear if West would have directed the picture as well, but given that he directs all the movies he writes, I would assume that he would have.
West himself did talk bout meeting with Kidman in a 2012 interview with MoveableFest.com, but didn’t mention that he had written a script for her:
“I can tell you that I never expected “House of the Devil” to do what it did. I never expected that some of the people that I have met that liked that movie. I never thought I would have brunch with Nicole Kidman because she saw it at the Angelika. That’s stuff that as time goes on and as you live with the movie and you do these things, you get the word out, some people don’t find it right away, but they eventually find it and it’s great.”
“I had tea with her somewhere else, but that’s where she saw the movie. I was just fascinated with the idea that Nicole Kidman goes to the movies. And she loved the movie and was so complimentary. I was like, “I’m going to call everyone I know. This is an amazing experience.” But that’s great. I didn’t compromise on the movie that I made. I made the movie I wanted. It was an indie movie and look, it still got there somehow.”
In a Valley of Violence is expected to be released sometime this year. We don’t know what West’s next project will be, but it’s entirely possible that it won’t be in the horror genre. While it was before making the upcoming western, West said this on the Bret Easton Ellis podcast last year:
“I’m definitely horrored out. It’s been ten years of like a great time making horror movies and having a career because of horror movies because…I’m very fortunate because of it, and I’m very proud of all of the movies that I’ve made, but I don’t at this time know how to make another horror movie that doesn’t feel like a horror movie I’ve already made. And Sacrament, I think, doesn’t, and that was like the last one I could figure out like a new way to do it…[With] that movie, I was very interested in realism and trying to create some kind of confronting realism. Now I have zero interest in realism whatsoever. I couldn’t be more bored by realism. So what I realized that I’m now interested in, and probably will be for a while, is what I’ve always been interested in, but that I got away from a little bit, which is just like pure cinema.”
Many will be sad to have less Ti West horror movies coming out, but I have a feeling he’s not going to disappoint with his films going forward. There’s no reason he should be confined to any genre label. I think most of us just want good movies.