Gypsy's Sam Mendes Chooses Next Film Project

By Andrew Gans
26 Apr 2004

Sam Mendes and Bernadette Peters
Sam Mendes and Bernadette Peters
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Neither the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd nor the Khaled Hosseini novel "The Kite Runner" will be the next film project for Academy Award winner Sam Mendes.

Variety reports that Mendes, who won his Oscar for "American Beauty," will instead turn his attention to "Jarhead," based on Anthony Swofford's memoir. The Persian Gulf-set story, with a script by "Cast Away"'s William Broyles, will be a Universal Picture film.

About the movie director Mendes told the industry paper, "This is equal parts black humor, honesty, rage, lyricism, profanity and the mixture of machismo jarhead culture. With the exception of 'Three Kings,' this is a war that has been overlooked but which has a burning relevance to what is happening right now in the Middle East."

Mendes hasn't made a film since 2002's "Road to Perdition," but he told Variety, "My process is slow and I enjoy it too much to rush. And I like to return to the theatre between films. But after not doing any movies for a few years, perhaps I might do two in two years."

Sam Mendes founded London's intimate theatre space, the Donmar Warehouse. During his decade at the Donmar, the theatre presented productions of Cabaret, Into the Woods, Orpheus Descending, The Real Thing, Proof, Company and The Blue Room. Several of those productions found their way to Broadway, including the Tony-winning revival of Cabaret. He also directed the current revival of Gypsy, starring Bernadette Peters, at the Shubert Theatre. Mendes has also achieved success on screen, including an Academy Award for "American Beauty."