Mark Romanek and Tom Hanks almost worked together before.
“Almost” is a big word in Romanek’s filmography, unfortunately. He almost made “The Wolfman” before famously falling out of the film which went on to be troubled all the way through production.
And in 2005, he almost made “A Cold Case,” which was written by no less than John Sayles and Eric Roth. Based on a novel, it was the story of Andy Rosenzweig, an investigator for the Manhattan DA’s office, who became obsessed with two murders from 1970 that he is convinced were pinned on the wrong person.
Now it looks like there’s a chance they’ll finally collaborate, and this could be an important film for Romanek, commercially speaking. He needs it, too. As gifted as he is, and I believe he’s enormously gifted, he has not been a successful filmmaker in terms of box-office so far. While he’s arguably one of the most talented guys to ever work for Propaganda Films, his career since 2002’s “One Hour Photo,” featuring one of the best performances in Robin Williams’s career, has been a slow-motion attempt to make smart films that just didn’t quite come together. His third film was 2010’s “Never Let Me Go,” and it’s a gorgeous, crushingly sad movie that was a hard sell for general audiences.
He needs a hit, and in terms of sure bets, there are few things that seem more sure than the third Robert Langdon film from novelist Dan Brown. After all, both “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” made a ton of money without the terrible burden of actually being good films, and the third book in the series may be the worst one. “The Lost Symbol” is moving ahead anyway, and Tom Hanks is expected to not only return to the role but also to come up with a third haircut for the character. Deadline’s got Romanek as the front-runner for the director’s job right now, but it’s not a done deal yet.
If this does happen, then good for Romanek. I haven’t seen the pilot he shot for “Locke and Key,” but I think he needs to get one big fat commercial success under his belt so someone will gamble on something more personal for him. His voice is too strong and too smart to be sidelined like this, and I hope this does the trick, freeing him up to get some worthwhile projects off the ground.