Tom Ford’s more than the designer who singlehandedly turned around the House of Gucci, and more than the inspiration for Jay Z’s millionth ode to the joys of being staggeringly rich. Ford turned heads in 2009—not for his bespoke menswear ensembles, but for his visually sumptuous (to a fault, some critics said) directorial debut A Single Man. The film netted a Best Actor nomination for leading man Colin Firth, but more vitally, also established Ford as a considerable talent behind the camera. Ford’s film career has stagnated since A Single Man, but our own Kate “The Erbs” Erbland noted last month that will soon change with an adaptation of an unspecified work. That work, once unspecified, is now specified, and has already begun to attract A-listers eager to be a part of whatever Ford’s cooking up.
Ford’s next feature, as Rachel outlined in the Newsies earlier this week, is titled Nocturnal Animals. A hyper-stylish dramatization of the Wikipedia article “List of nocturnal animals,” the film will—our line producer is gesticulating wildly and angrily, she’s trying to tell us something. Oh. Nocturnal Animals is based on Austin Wright’s 2011 novel Tony and Susan, and will apparently involve very few actually night-stalking beasts. Amazon provides an illuminating plot synopsis:
“Fifteen years ago, Susan Morrow left her first husband Edward Sheffield, an unpublished writer. Now, she's enduring middle class suburbia as a doctor's wife, when out of the blue she receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband's first novel. He writes asking her to read the book; she was always his best critic, he says.
As Susan reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a math professor driving his family to their summer house in Maine. And as we read with her, we too become lost in Sheffield's thriller. As the Hastings’ ordinary, civilized lives are disastrously, violently sent off course, Susan is plunged back into the past, forced to confront the darkness that inhabits her, and driven to name the fear that gnaws at her future and will change her life.”
What with all the unhappy intellectuals and suburban ennui, this should be a natural follow-up to A Single Man. With Ford’s reputation, highly-regarded actors have wasted no time in wiggling their designer-shoe-clad-feet into the door. Citing shadowy “sources,” Variety reported today that hot commodities Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams are both “circling” Ford’s new project. Though no concrete deals have been inked, the two Academy-Award nominees have reportedly expressed interest in joining the cast, with Adams in the role of Susan and Gyllenhaal eyeing the “male lead,” though whether that refers to Tony or Edward remains unclear.
Ford’s only got one picture under his belt, and it’s got its fair share of flaws, but there’s no denying that the man’s got an eye for visuals that most first-time filmmakers could only fantasize about. With a little discipline and experience, he could become a major player. Who knows? The film students of tomorrow could quite possibly claim to have been influenced by the masters: Tom Ford, Tom Ford, and Tom Ford.