Todd Haynes Says His Next Project Will Be An NC-17 Gay Love Story Starring Joaquin Phoenix

Yesterday we told you that Netflix has picked up Todd Haynes’ latest Cannes Competition title, May December, and it looks like the filmmaker has already lined up his next project.

Haynes’ told a French culture mag this week that he is prepping his next film, a gay romance pic with Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix set to star in the lead role.

“I want to do it in early 2024. It’s a project that Joaquin Phoenix brought to me, and it’s set in the 1930s,” Haynes said. “A love story between two men, based on an original, very audacious scenario. This is, I believe, his first gay role. I am very excited about this project.”

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In a separate interview with Indiewire, Haynes added that the pic will be NC-17 rated and come from a screenplay he has developed with Phoenix and Jon Raymond.

“We basically wrote with him as a story writer,” Haynes said of the Joker actor. “Me and Jon Raymond and Joaquin share the story credit. And we hope to be shooting it beginning early next year. It’s a gay love story set in 1930s LA.”

Haynes added: “Joaquin was pushing me further and going ‘no, let’s go further. This will be an NC-17 film.”

In a review of Haynes’ latest pic, May December, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, Deadline’s Pete Hammond described the pic as “the stuff of classic Hollywood melodrama, but with a smart contemporary spin.”

Netflix picked the film up in a $11 million deal for North American rights. The deal is being finalized by CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group, with Rocket Science brokering international deals. The film premiered at Cannes last Saturday evening, and received an eight-minute standing ovation and positive notices.

Haynes reacted to Deadline’s scoop almost in real-time when he stopped by our Cannes Studio, where he said the deal made the film’s team feel “emboldened:”

This week Deadline also broke the news that The Island, Oscar winner Pawel Pawlikowski’s latest film which was set to star Phoenix and Rooney Mara, has been shut down as bond companies refuse to insure movies ahead of a potential SAG-AFTRA strike on July 1.

We understand that talent, financiers, and producers remain fully committed to the project, but when it can start up again remains to be seen.

The Cannes Film Festival runs through May 26.

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