Its ingredients are guarded more closely than the Colonel's secret recipe. The people behind the scenes continue to confuse reporters with statements only slightly less specific than the mumbles that come out of the Hamburgler's mouth. And like a finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili, nobody knows whether it will become the most controversial topic of its time or a big noisy hoax.
But now at least we have a clue. While promoting yet another project in his suddenly red-hot career, indie film sensation Lou Pucci ("Thumbsucker," "The Chumbscrubber") has confirmed his participation in an upcoming film whose title is (for a change) not a long word ending in "er": It's the top-secret movie adaptation of the book "Fast Food Nation."
"I definitely think it'll be controversial," offered the 20-year-old actor, who also stars in Green Day's epic video for "Jesus of Suburbia" (see "Green Day Shoot 14-Minute Short Film For 'Jesus Of Suburbia' ").
For those whose pop-culture awareness is as slim as Jared from Subway, "Nation" was published in 2001 and quickly entered the New York Times bestseller list. Subtitled "The Dark Side of the All-American Meal," the nonfiction exposé detailed author Eric Schlosser's adventures exploring the food chain from top (fast-food executives) to bottom (minimum-wage slaughterhouse employees) with a lighthearted, nostalgic, yet ultimately condemning outlook.
"I haven't read the book yet," Pucci admitted. "I met the writer, who's such a nice guy, he's amazing. It's funny, because he has so many messed-up stories."
Versatile filmmaker Richard Linklater ("Dazed and Confused," "Before Sunrise," "School of Rock") has confirmed that he is shepherding "Nation" to the big screen, but that's where the rumors begin to run wild.
One story has the film currently shooting under the alias "Coyote," so that secretive scenes in real-life restaurants can occur. Another has everyone from Bruce Willis to Greg Kinnear to Catalina Sandino Moreno (last seen being nominated for an Oscar for "Maria Full of Grace") in the cast. Finally, it is rumored that the film will be inspired by the book, but that the characters themselves will be largely fictionalized.
Pucci described his character, Paco, as being more dramatic than documentary. "Paco is like, he wants to do something, he just doesn't know what the hell it is," Pucci said excitedly. "He's a kind of college revolutionary-type kid. He knows he wants to get something done, and so he has a plan."
As for the details of Paco's plan, or the presumed corporate entity he targets, Pucci remained tight-lipped. "They're going to act on it and see what happens. But I can't really go into it any more, without giving away the story."
Pressed for details on the names of his fellow castmembers, Pucci once again began to tremble like the Taco Bell Chihuahua. "I'm actually not sure ... so I don't think I should ... just because ... I really, I don't know."
And so the secrecy continues, with Pucci offering little else except an admission that he begins filming "a couple days after" his current project, a quirky drama called "The Go-Getter." And, Pucci insisted, the script is more concerned with the flavor of a country than that of a Whopper.
"I think that 'Fast Food Nation' as a movie is going to be really, really interesting to watch," he enthused. "And it's just going to say truthfully what life can be like for somebody who's not from this country, who comes here with nothing and sees what happens.
"Or," he finished, offering a McNugget of caution to eaters everywhere, "people who live in this country and have no idea what's going on behind the scenes."
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