Now that both “Dracula Year Zero” and “Paradise Lost”, two big-budget epics that he had been attached to direct for the longest time have both gone under (with “Dracula Year Zero” now going to newcomer Gary Shore), the “Dark City” director is searching for a new project to spend his time on. Enter “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” by noted sci-fi author Robert Heinlein (“Starship Troopers”), that Proyas has been rumored to direct since 2008.
Well, rumored no longer. Proyas has officially signed on to direct the 1942 novella for Red Granite Pictures, with producers eyeing a fall 2012 start date. You know, if the film actually happens. Given Proyas’ recent spate of bad luck with losing films (his last movie was 2009’s “Knowing” with Nicolas Cage), this is, at best, a 50-50 proposition. I don’t want to jinx the guy, but come on, he’s had it pretty rough lately, no?
In “Hoag,” the title character is struck one evening with the realization that he has no memory of what he does during the day. Distraught over his predicament, and particularly concerned that he might be engaged in some nefarious activities, he contacts a husband and wife detective agency and asks them to surreptitiously follow him. The truth takes a dark and ultimately earth-shattering turn as their investigation leads to a series of frightening revelations, beginning with a group of shadowy figures who gravely warn of dire consequences unless the pair immediately cease their inquiry into the nature of Hoag’s identity.
If “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” actually gets made, it should prove to be a pretty tricky (but satisfying) head-trip movie in the vein of, say, “The Adjustment Bureau”, “Vanilla Sky”, and even “Dark City”, Proyas’ earlier film. It involves the question of identity, reality, and all that good stuff that Proyas did so well in “Dark City”.
I’m guessing they’ll eventually change the film’s title to something more snappy. “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” sounds like a great title for a book you can read on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but let’s face it, it’s not going to go over well with today’s movie audiences.