Writer-director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and The Whale, Greenberg) has been brought on to replace Ron Howard as director of the dramedy The Emperor's Children. Howard will still produce with Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer, but has moved on to helm an untitled Vince Vaughn, Kevin James comedy.
Baumbach comes as a natural replacement for Howard, as the Oscar-nominated writer penned the screenplay for The Emperor's Children, based on Claire Messud's 2006 best-selling novel set in New York in the months leading up to and following 9/11, that centers around a trio of Brown University graduates who are approaching their 30s with trepidation as they struggle to realize the lofty expectations held for their personal and professional lives. Baumbach had even told Variety in 2007 that he would love to direct the project as well. Baumbach actually seems like a better fit, as the ensemble cast of college friends is very reminiscent of his 1995 film Kick and Screaming.
Keira Knightley, Eric Bana and Richard Gere are attached to star the film, eyeing a summer start date.
Knightley will presumably but obviously star as the female lead, Marina. While Gere seems a fit for the role of her father, the "celebrated intellectual and journalist." Bana is 12 years past the 30-year mark, so I'm guessing he'll be playing "Bootie," Knightley's college drop out cousin.
What do you think of Baumbach replacing Howard? What do you think of the cast so far?
The Emperor’s Children is about the intersections in the lives of three friends, now on the cusp of their thirties, making their way—and not—in New York City. There is beautiful, sophisticated Marina Thwaite—an “It” girl finishing her first book; the daughter of Murray Thwaite, celebrated intellectual and journalist—and her two closest friends from Brown, Danielle, a quietly appealing television producer, and Julius, a cash-strapped freelance critic.
The delicious complications that arise among them become dangerous when Murray’s nephew, Frederick “Bootie” Tubb, an idealistic college dropout determined to make his mark, comes to town. As the skies darken, it is Bootie’s unexpected decisions—and their stunning, heartbreaking outcome—that will change each of their lives forever.