The love affair between French Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée and HBO continues. Following the success of the big Emmys and Golden Globes winner “Big Little Lies” and the Globes contender and sure-to-be Emmy contender “Sharp Objects” with Amy Adams, Vallée has lined up yet another limited series with the premium cable giant. This one is “Gorilla And The Bird,” based on the memoir of the same name by Zack McDermott. Titled “Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love” in full, the memoir is about a mother, her bi-polar son, and the account the young man’s unraveling and the relationship that saves him.
Here’s the full book synopsis:
Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from “The Producer” to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital.
So begins the story of Zack’s freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often hilarious struggle to claw his way back to sanity. It’s a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed the Bird, whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack’s dark world.
Before his odyssey is over, Zack will be tackled by guards in mental wards, run naked through cornfields, receive secret messages from the TV, befriend a former Navy Seal and his talking stuffed monkey, and see the Virgin Mary in the whorls of his own back hair. But with the Bird’s help, he just might have a shot at pulling through, starting over, and maybe even meeting a partner who can love him back, bipolar and all.
Vallée will executive produce under his crazyrose production banner and direct, but it’s unclear if he’ll helm the entire series run (if “Big Little Lies” and “Sharp Objects” are any indication he will).
Vallée scored big with “Dallas Buyers Club” in 2013— Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both won acting awards at the Oscars that year and the movie was nominated for Best Picture—but the filmmaker hasn’t helmed a feature-length movie since 2015’s “Demolition,” instead directed two limited series in a row for HBO, with ‘Gorilla’ most likely looking like the third.
No cast has been attached yet, but, Channing Tatum’s Free Association (and Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf’s Big Beach) are co-producers, so perhaps some interest will rise there for the actor who’s been awol on screen since “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” in 2017. His one 2018 credit is the voice role in “Smallfoot,” and he only has a small voice role in 2019’s “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” so clearly the actor is taking a break.
Either way, considering the A-list talent that Vallée usually attracts—and often scores coveted acting nominations for—expect it to pull big names. [Deadline]