It”s been a slow post-Oscar star for Hailee Steinfeld and writer-producer-director Dustin Lance Black. Not disastrous, but not the typical rise to prominence and slew of work that comes with the Academy Award touch. Steinfeld earned a nomination in 2011 for her work on the Coen Bros” “True Grit.” Two years earlier, Black won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for “Milk.” Since then, neither have tackled material that”s brought them back into the awards conversation. Their next project may not have the bravado to take them back to the ceremony, but it sounds like a step in the right direction.
According to Deadline”s report out of the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Steinfeld is on board to star in Black”s adaptation of “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” a young adult novel by Jennifer E. Smith. The film follows a whirlwind romance set in the most romantic setting imaginable: an airport. Stuck waiting for a flight, Hadley (Steinfeld) bumps into a young Brit who alleviates the pain with charm. When they find themselves seated next to each other on the plane, the YA version of “Before Sunrise” unfolds. Black will direct from his own screenplay.
Since earning her “True Grit” nomination, Steinfeld has had a few blockbuster non-starters (“Ender's Game,” “3 Days to Kill,”), stabs at prestige (“Romeo & Juliet”), and buzzy films without room in their spotlight for the 18-year-old actress (this year”s “Begin Again” comes to mind). Dustin Lance Black wound up on a similar path after “Milk.” The win, combined with the success of his HBO show “Big Love,” helped Black find financing for his directorial debut, “Virginia.” The movie trickled into theaters after tumultuous festival run, arriving as critics tore into his screenplay for “J. Edgar.
The bumps haven”t derailed Black”s career. He has scripts for Ron Howard and Robert Zemeckis in the can, he”s penned an adaptation of the Green Day musical “American Idiot,” he wrote an earthquake movie for J.J. Abrams, and his own directorial career continues to prosper. Someone in Hollywood likes this guy. Same from Steinfeld, who has the teen spy movie “Barely Lethal,” the Vince Vaughn-led crime drama “Term Life,” and “Pitch Perfect 2” all on the horizon.
No word on when “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” will shoot, giving you plenty of time to read the book and/or join the “mile high club.”