Nicolas Cage tends to emphasize quantity over quality when it comes to his career choices, but he still comes across some truly good projects every once in a while — I’d say just often enough to remind us that he can bring it if he really wants to. And after a long streak of forgettable stinkers like Season of the Witch, Seeking Justice, and Trespass, he’s landed an especially promising new project in Joe.

Billed as a “gritty Southern drama,” Joe is being adapted by Gary Hawkins from the novel by Larry BrownDavid Gordon Green is set to direct, marking his return to drama after a string of comedies. There’s a catch, though — cameras on Joe are scheduled to roll this fall, which indicates that Green’s long-gestating Suspiria remake has been pushed back yet again. More after the jump.

The news comes out of Toronto, where it was announced that Worldview Entertainment would finance the movie. Cage will play the title character, an ex-con who crosses paths with a teenager named Gary. The eldest son of a homeless family headed by a cruel alcoholic father, Gary looks to Joe for guidance and the pair try to build a better life in their impoverished corner of Mississippi.

The setting and subject matter sound right up Green’s alley, as he made his reputation on small town Southern dramas like George Washington and All the Real Girls before jumping to lighter fare with Pineapple Express. “When Larry Brown wrote the novel Joe, he instantly created an iconic character of contemporary Southern literature,” Green said in a statement. “It is with great excitement that I’ve been able to work with Nicolas Cage to design an absolute and unexpected performance piece that is woven from the darkness, beauty, humor and environment of this material.” Joe is targeting an early November start in Texas.

Which brings us to the question of what’s happened to Suspiria. Last we heard of that film, financing was in place for a September shoot with Isabelle Furhman in the lead. However, Joe‘s timing suggests it’s now been delayed or even cancelled outright. It wouldn’t be the first time Suspiria has been pushed aside; way back when, we reported it would start shooting in 2010.

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