Variety reports that Luca Guadagnino will start shooting “Queer,” his next feature, in Rome this month now that he’s wrapped post-production on “Challengers,” in theaters this September. This marks the most rapid creative pace for Guadagnino in his whole career: three films in as many years. That’s great news for Guada fans.
News broke on the project late last year, with Guadagnino expressing interest in Daniel Craig in the lead role of the William S. Burroughs adaptation. For those unfamiliar with Burroughs’ book, his sophomore novel follows Lee, an American ex-pat in Mexico City as he lives in the fringes of society, falls in love with Navy man Allerton, and embarks to South America in search of the legendary hallucinogen Yage. Burroughs wrote the book in the early ’50s, but “Queer” wasn’t published until 1985. It’s since gained a major cult following, and many consider it a precursor in style to Burroughs’ magnum opus, “Naked Lunch.”
Craig as Lee was all but assured last December, but now Variety has a cast list to go with that news. Drew Starkey, star of Netflix‘s “Outer Banks,” will play the young American and fellow drug user Lee becomes infatuated with. Other cast members include Lesley Manville, Jason Schwartzman, and Henry Zaga. “Queer” will be Starkey’s first significant film role.
As stated earlier, Guadagnino starts shooting “Queer” at Rome’s Cinecittà Studios this month. “Challengers” scribe Justin Kuritzkes adapts the novel to the screen. Meanwhile, British designer Jonathan Anderson will work on costume design for the film after doing so on “Challengers.” “It is one of my all time favorite books. And the film has everything – Mexico, lots of drugs, and Daniel Craig,” Anderson recently told The Guardian. So Guada continues his penchant for working with crew members over multiple films. No word if editor Marco Costa will work on this one, which would be the fourth collaboration in a row between him and Guadagnino.
As for Craig, he’s no stranger to playing gay roles. He starred opposite Derek Jacobi in John Maybury’s 1998 experimental drama “Love Is the Devil – Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon.” In that film, Craig played Greg Dyer, a young homosexual criminal, and Bacon’s artistic muse. And Craig’s Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson‘s “Knives Out” films is another homosexual role for the actor. A scene in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” suggested Blance was gay, and both Craig and Johnson confirmed that after the movie’s release.
What else about “Queer”? Lorenzo Mieli’s Fremantle-owned The Apartment, which backed Guadagnino’s “Bones And All” and Sofia Coppola‘s forthcoming “Priscilla,” is the lead producer on the film. Guadagnino’s banner, Frenesy Film, covers the rest. Fremantle North America also helps out.
It’s great to see Guada in the most productive creative surge of his career. More news on “Queer” as the project enter production.