Emily Blunt Has Signed On To Star In David Yates' Pain Hustlers

With the future of the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise up in the air, it seems director David Yates is looking to take a break from the Wizarding World. Variety reports the filmmaker is set to helm "Pain Hustlers," a crime-conspiracy film that has Emily Blunt — who's been busy of late filming her role as J. Robert Oppenheimer's wife and fellow scientist, Katherine "Kitty" Oppenheimer, in Christopher Nolan's biopic "Oppenheimer" — attached to star. 

"Pain Hustlers" was written by Wells Tower ("The True American") and will be shopped around to potential buyers at the Cannes Film Festival this month. Here's the official synopsis:

"Dreaming of a better life for her and her young daughter, Liza Drake (Blunt), a high-school dropout, lands a job with a failing pharmaceutical start-up in a yellowing strip mall in Central Florida. Liza's charm, guts and drive catapult the company and her into the high life, where she soon finds herself at the center of a criminal conspiracy with deadly consequences. In the vein of 'The Big Short,' 'American Hustle' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' 'Pain Hustlers' is a hilarious, dramatic and wild journey to the corrupt heart of the American dream."

There's more to David Yates than the Wizarding World

David Yates is best known these days for directing the last four "Harry Potter" films and the first three "Fantastic Beasts" movies. Well before that, he got his start helming the British police procedural "The Bill" and the political thriller "State of Play," a critically-acclaimed British miniseries that was later remade as a U.S. film in 2009. That said, it was Yates' well-received 2005 TV movie, "The Girl in the Café" (seen above) that first put him on my radar. Written by Richard Curtis ("Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill,"), the film stars Bill Nighy as a British civil servant who falls for a younger woman (Kelly Macdonald) he met in a café, only to learn she's far more politically active and outspoken than he realized.

Yates' background made him, in many ways, a perfect fit to take on the last four "Harry Potter" films, what with them being among the more overtly political of the series. Since then, however, he's had a bit of a rough go. His sole non-Wizarding World movie in the last 15 years, 2016's "The Legend of Tarzan," left much to be desired, and his three "Fantastic Beasts" films are a bit of a drag to sit through (though their writer bears much of the blame for that). Yates has clearly been itching to make a movie about the dark reality of the American Dream for a while now, having come very close to directing a "Scarface" remake back in 2013. Perhaps "Pain Hustlers" will serve to recharge his batteries as a filmmaker?

"Pain Hustlers" is set to begin production on August 22, 2022, but it has yet to receive a release date.