Michael Fassbender And Colin Firth Set For Literary Drama 'Genius,' About Author Thomas Wolfe

It may seem like there are a ton of new projects hitting this week, and that's because the American Film Market is getting under way. That's where indies go to find financing and distribution partnerships, and so it's one of a couple big marketplace events where producers announce new films. One of the most promising so far is Genius, which has changed up its cast a bit.

Once meant to star Sean Penn, the film will now pair Michael Fassbender and Colin Firth for the first time, in a film about the relationship between author Thomas Wolfe and his long-time editor Max Perkins. In the days where editors often seem more like proofreaders than true literary guiding lights, Maxwell Perkins remains famous for his work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, among other writers.

Variety tweeted the news:

And then expanded, reiterating that John Logan (Gladiator, Noah, Skyfall) is scripting based on the A. Scott Berg-penned biography Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. Michael Grandage, who has acted in film and television here and there, but is respected as a theatre director and producer, will direct as his feature film debut.

The trade doesn't specify who plays whom, but based on appearances alone, Fassbender should be Perkins, and Firth Wolfe. Their working relationship was contentious, as Wolfe was famously voluminous, and Perkins constantly fought him to restrain page counts, and to generally pound Wolfe's novels (such as Look Homeward, Angel in '29 and Of Time and the River in '35) into shape. Their working relationship was formally severed after the publication of Time and the River, but they remained friends, and Perkins became executor of Wolfe's estate after the author's death in 1938.

If Fassbender does play Perkins, it will be a nice shift — the intense actor isn't known, in general, for playing the friendliest of characters. But Perkins was known as much for his courteous, caring nature as his dedication to his craft. Could be a good turn for Fassbender if that's the way things work out.