As soon as I walked out of “Wild Tales” at Cannes, I started wondering who the first studio would be to hire the filmmaker to make a big American movie. From just one film, it is clear right away that he's good at drama, suspense, and comedy, and he has an aggressive visual style that works whether he's staging two people having a conversation or a giant CGI sight gag involving a jumbo jet.
But the real strength of “Wild Tales” is the screenplay, a witty and savage anthology piece that lays bare quite a bit about Szifron's feelings towards his home country, Argentina, and the state of that particular union. As good as Szifron is behind the camera, he's equally gifted at the keyboard.
Now Damian Szifron has been hired to write the screenplay for “The Six Billion Dollar Man,” Peter Berg's updated take on the lunatic '70s TV show starring Lee Majors. Mark Wahlberg is attached to star in the film.
Szifron is a wicked smart writer, and it will be interesting to see what tone they take with this. I don't think of Berg as a funny filmmaker, per se, but when the script has a sharp wit to it, he seems to be able to capture that. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this version will hew closely to the original in basic concept: Steve Austin is in a terrible accident, and rebuilt using cutting-edge technology that makes him into something more.
Szifron is quoted as saying, “The themes surrounding this beloved property allow for the creation of a memorable sci-fi auctioneer as well as a bold spy thriller.” I hope he dreams big, and I hope Berg nails it, and I hope Szifron's stock continues to go up. This is a guy who should be working non-stop right now, and who seems to have something to say. If this is the way he breaks into Hollywood, then I wish him well with it, and fingers are crossed that it turns out to be a good showcase for this genuinely exciting talent.
The only real question at this point is how do they feel about Bigfoot?