‘Primer’ and ‘Upstream Color’ Director Shane Carruth Developing His First Big Budget Studio Film
For those of you familiar with Shane Carruth’s work, then a report suggesting that the elusive director is working on a new film is incredibly exciting. Carruth has only directed two films to date: the 2004 time travel movie Primer, and the surreal 2013 sci-fi drama Upstream Color. Although his last attempt at working within the studio system didn’t pan out, Carruth is attempting to give it another try with his next project, described as a big budget nautical adventure film.
Deadline reports that Carruth has signed a deal with the WME agency, who will work with the director on developing The Modern Ocean, which he previously described (via The Playlist) as an ambitious, big budget “nautical action adventure.” Those adjectives are entirely contradictory to Carruth’s previous work, but like his other films, this one has been kicking around in his head for quite a while. But unlike his other films, The Modern Ocean will need studio support (and lots of money) if he hopes to get it made at all.
Carruth previously wrote, directed, edited, produced and starred in Primer and Upstream Color, and served as composer on both projects, thus maintaining full creative control over the films. His deal with WME doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll get The Modern Ocean made, but certainly forming relationships with studios and having an agency to make those connections will help.
This also isn’t the first time that Carruth has tried to get a more ambitious film made in the studio system — he was previously working on A Topiary and had the support of both David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh, but even their confidence wasn’t enough to inspire studio backing and A Topiary fell apart.
You can still catch a small glimpse of what A Topiary might have been in one scene from Upstream Color — when Amy Seimetz’s Kris is working in her office, there’s a stop-motion scene playing on her computer screen, which was taken from Carruth’s work on the abandoned sci-fi project.
And for those of you who remain unfamiliar with Carruth’s work, both Primer and Upstream Color are available on Netflix Instant — Rian Johnson cites the former as an inspiration for Looper, and even had Carruth work as a consultant on his time-travel action film.