We have learned that Sam Rockwell is in talks to star in Gore Verbinski’s next film, which will be his first project since directing A Cure For Wellness in 2016.
A Cure For Wellness was neither a critical success nor a financial hit after only grossing $26 million in theaters on a $40 million production budget. Perhaps a bit misunderstood at the time of its release, the film has gone on to gain somewhat of a cult following in recent years. Much of this is thanks to its star-studded cast led by Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, and Jason Isaacs and Verbinski’s bold and creative direction. A Cure For Wellness follows an ambitious young executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.
Gore Verbinski’s long break from directing was likely not due to the poor performance of A Cure For Wellness, or 2013’s The Lone Ranger, but rather a string of bad luck involving his prospective filmography. He was initially next attached to direct Gambit for Fox but left the doomed project in early 2018. Verbinski later cited in an interview with Collider that he left Gambit because “the script we never got to a place where everybody was in agreement.” Despite winning an Oscar for his 2011 animated feature Rango and bringing massive success to Disney by helming the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy in the 2000s, things have frustratingly not gained steam for Verbinski.
Recently in September 2022, what was planned to be the filmmaker’s next animated feature titled Cattywumpus was dropped by Netflix with the streamer allowing him to go around and shop the title to other studios. Of course, Gore Verbinski was also famously working on a movie adaptation of the beloved Bioshock video game series before that project came to a standstill at Universal Pictures. Netflix has since picked up the Bioshock film with Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence and Blade Runner 2049 screenwriter Michael Green attached.
It is unknown if Cattywumpus, an animated tale about felines in outer space, is the film in question that actor Sam Rockwell is in talks to star in as Gore Verbinski previously said to Collider in 2021, “I’m working on two screenplays … they’re both animated movies. They’re not Westerns. One is a musical. These are so many years out. They take so long that I just … I mean, it’s way too early to talk about them.”
If talks with Sam Rockwell succeed, this would be the actor’s first collaboration with Gore Verbinski. Rockwell has made a household name for himself with his Oscar-nominated performance in Adam McKay’s Vice and his Oscar-winning performance in Martin McDonaugh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Others may know him for his fan-favorite role as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 and even though the actor has expressed interest in returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there have been no announced plans for him to reprise the villain just yet. Rockwell most recently starred in the murder mystery See How They Run from Searchlight Pictures and is set to appear in Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming spy thriller Argylle for AppleTV+.
If Gore Verbinski’s next film does end up being an animated feature then Sam Rockwell is no stranger to voice work either, having voiced the lead character of Wolf in the recent Dreamworks picture The Bad Guys. Starring alongside a talented ensemble including Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, and Zazie Beets, The Bad Guys shows the hilarious and charming range of Rockwell as a voice actor in a leading role. While the film was only a modest success earning $250 million worldwide in cinemas and not even being the highest-grossing Dreamworks film of that year, beaten by Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, it has still gained extensive praise from general audiences and critics alike for its dynamic use of animation.
The plot details and official title are currently unknown for Gore Verbinski’s next film (it’s not even known if this will be live-action or animated but the latter seems most likely). However, Matthew Robinson is attached to write the script. Robinson’s previous film writing credits include The Invention of Lying, Dora and The Lost City of Gold, Love & Monsters, and a host of unmade titles including Patty Jenkins’ Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Greg Berlanti’s adaption of Little Shop of Horrors, and a sequel to Edge of Tomorrow.
While no distributor is currently attached to the project, 3 Arts Entertainment is serving as the production company for Gore Verbinski’s next feature. 3 Arts Entertainment is famous for producing TV titles such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Good Place, Girls5Eva, The Sex Lives of College Girls, and theatrical features like Chaos Walking and The Call of the Wild.