It seems that the production is kicking into high gear, as a number of high-profile players appear to be in the process of signing on to join Scorsese in his latest adventure. Deadline Hollywood reports (unsourced) that a sizable group of players is in the negotiations phase and landing key roles in the director’s next effort.
In two separate reports yesterday it was revealed that Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield are all in talks. Butterfield, who will next be seen in “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang,” is up for the title role while Moretz would play the female lead, Isabelle. Cohen is up for the part of the station inspector and Kingsley, for Méliès himself.
It might seem odd for a guy like Scorsese to be moving forward with a kids’ movie, but it begins to make more sense when you think about the story’s inspirations. This is someone who possesses a true appreciation for the art of cinema, and Méliès is one of the medium’s visionaries. I haven’t read “Hugo Cabret,” but I can certainly see how it would appeal to Scorsese. Méliès was creating narrative cinema at a time when people were running from theaters, screaming in fear at the sight of a train pulling into a station. The same year the Lumière brothers were toying with the novelty of filmmaking — “L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat” (“Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat”) was 1896 — Méliès was crafting what is credited as the medium’s first horror film: “Le Manoir du diablo” (“The House of the Devil”).