David Gordon Green Continues Return to Form With the “Beautiful Humor” of His ‘Manglehorn’

By  · Published on May 1st, 2013

Yes, that headline comes with a caveat. While fans of David Gordon Green’s early work have bristled at his turn into more mainstream comedies (count me as one of those bristlers), the filmmaker has never denied that said comedies (like Your Highness and The Sitter) are more in line with his personal tastes and preferences. So, no, while Green might be “returning to form” after his comedic outings, that form is really the one we made for him.

Let’s not fence Green in. But let’s also not try to hide our glee when he starts work on the type of film that sounds like it will fit in quite neatly next to Undertow and All the Real Girls. That possible next film? Manglehorn.

What’s a “manglehorn”? Only a love story with a dark twist that could star Al Pacino. Not too shabby, eh?

Deadline reports (via The Playlist) that Worldview Entertainment is on to finance and produce the film, which Green is set to helm form his own script that he wrote with Paul Logan (who I pray to God is this guy). The film centers on “A.J. Manglehorn, an aging, ordinary guy in a small town who nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day. But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he’s an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big ‘job.’ He now obsesses daily over the choices he made. After a dramatic effort to start over, Manglehorn faces a terrifying moment and is unmasked as a guy with a very, very dark past.”

Green himself expands on the tone and plot of Manglehorn, saying that he sees it “as the story of a guy who gave up the love of his life for a life of crime and now he regrets it as the world crumbles in front of him. His profession as a locksmith is symbolic of a guy who’s trying to find the key to put his life back together. It’s a love story, the choices you make in your youth and the situations you set up for yourself: you end up sitting alone at the dinner table talking to a cat! I do think there is a beautiful humor in this.”

Deadline reports that the team behind Manglehorn is looking to cast Pacino as the lead, and with probable Cannes selling heat on the project, it would be surprising if it didn’t pan out.

Green is busy as hell at the moment – his “secret” (i.e. not publicized until it was done, which is sort of the coolest) film Prince Avalanche was a hit at both Sundance and Tribeca and is opening on August 9th, his Nicolas Cage-starring Joe is expected to make the fall festival rounds, and he’s still on deck to helm a new Little House on the Prairie feature (still my favorite news of the year so far).