tony kaye next film

Nearly a decade after his last feature film, Tony Kaye is returning to the director’s chair to helm the Civil Rights drama Civil. The British filmmaker, best known for his explosive 1998 debut feature American History X, will be directing a script written by Austin Wright and Adam Knox, which follows two men from opposite sides of the racial divide in the 1950s.

Deadline reports that Tony Kaye is making his long-awaited return to directing feature films with the Civil Rights drama Civil. Written by Austin Wright and Adam Knox, Civil is set in 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, one of the key locations and times for the birth of the American Civil Rights movement. The film follows “two young men from opposite sides of the racial divide in the months leading up to the movement in 1955, who discover the real meaning of equality, through the ashes of tragedy.”

This will be Kaye’s first narrative feature film since 2011’s Detachment, which starred Adrien Brody. And this will be his third narrative feature, arriving over 20 years after his incendiary debut American History X, over which Kaye had an infamous behind-the-scenes squabble with the studio New Line Cinema and star Edward Norton. Kaye clashed with New Line and Norton over the final cut of the film, for which Kaye envisioned a much more cynical ending for Norton’s reformed neo-Nazi. Norton and New Line eventually won out, with Norton’s cut more enthusiastically received by audiences, to Kaye’s dismay. Kaye didn’t take interference too well, attempting to have his name removed from the credits and replaced with “Humpty Dumpty,” as well as openly trashing the film in interviews and taking out aggressive trade ads condemning the final cut. Since then, Kaye has rarely worked in Hollywood, only returning with 2011’s Detachment, but mostly working in documentaries and music industry in the years since.

It clearly would take something powerful to bring Kaye back to feature film directing, and while the vague synopsis for Civil doesn’t offer many details on what exactly drew Kaye to the project, the narrative similarity to American History X does seem to be a major factor.

Wright, Knox, Tina Treadwell (Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale), Dru Davis (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Kim Coleman (BlacKkKlansman), and Joshua Uduma (The Swing of Things) are set to produce Civil. No cast members have been announced yet, but the plan is reportedly to start shooting early next year.

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