Tarsem Singh has made his name on lush, even indulgent visuals in films like The Cell, The Fall, and Immortals, as well as in music videos that preceded his feature work. His new film, the Snow White retelling Mirror Mirror, seems to be scaled back just a tiny bit from the all-out ‘feast of design’ approach seen in his previous films, but it will still likely be more ambitiously designed than most other films this year.

Tarsem has a few possible follow-up projects in the wings, but the one he really wants to do is a film that would help him break from the visually-dominated approach. Eye in the Sky is a sprawling modern war film with dozens of characters — think of the sort of project you’d expect to see Steven Soderbergh make — that had Olivier Hirschbiegel (Downfall) set to direct last year. Evidently there is some possible turnover in the director’s chair, and Tarsem wants the job.

The director described the project as he sees it to The Playlist,

It’s about a drone attack, and what it means to the people playing with their thumbs in Nevada, what it means to the people saying, ‘Go ahead and strike,’ what it means to other politicians at war in Europe, and what it means to the people on the ground where it happens [in East Africa]. There are people who become collateral damage around the globe in a lot of ways. It’s a really contemporary, emotional piece.

Sounds like quite a departure from his previous films, which have all had a very dominant element of the fantastic. And while his films have grown in scope with respect to casting — Immortals and Mirror Mirror both have more expansive casts than his earlier couple films — Eye in the Sky would be of a different order of magnitude.

Tarsems estimates the film has over sixty roles, and says “this is more like an event film.” He seems to think that could be problematic, as while someone with “Soderbergh’s clout” could pull the film together, he might not be able to. He hopes to know within the week whether or not he’s got this gig, but even if it comes together, Tarsem will probably shoot Killing on Carnival Row this summer, and then possibly do Eye in the Sky as a follow-up.

 

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