“Lonely Hunter” – the biopic of author Carson McCullers – has found its star in “Sucker Punch” actress Jena Malone, according to Collider.
Although Malone has been involved in a host of other films including “Pride and Prejudice” and “Into the Wild”, this will be the often-underestimated actress’ first major lead role.
Deborah Kampmeier (“Hounddog” and “Virgin”) will follow McCuller’s life over 35 years and will show how her writing helped her escape crippling illness and unhappy marriages. The film is also set to feature other notable figures including McCuller’s best friend Tennessee Williams, protégé Truman Capote, roommate Gypsy Rose Lee and fellow author Ethel Waters, so more casting announcements are expected soon.
Here’s the press release :
New York, NY – October 7, 2011 – Writer/Director/Producer Deborah Kampmeier and Producer Troy Johanson of Full Moon Films announced today that Jena Malone will portray Southern gothic writer Carson McCullers in “Lonely Hunter” the feature film based on her life story. A wild woman who transgressed gender laws and the color bar searching to understand her own mysterious passions, McCullers is the author of the classic novels “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” and “The Member of the Wedding.” Deborah Kampmeier will direct, as well as produce the film with Johanson and Blair Breard. Abigail Disney of Fork Films will executive produce. A shoot is scheduled for Spring 2012. Additional casting is under way.
An actress and musician, Jena Malone made her film debut in “Bastard Out of Carolina.” She garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Debut Performance and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance for her performance. Since then she has gone on to memorable roles in films including “Pride and Prejudice” and a lead in the cult favorite, “Donnie Darko.” Upcoming projects include “Jack and Diane” with Juno Temple, “For Ellen” with Paul Dano and “The Wait” with Chloe Sevigny.
“Lonely Hunter” is the true story of novelist and playwright Carson McCullers, a woman who overcame tremendous odds to become one of the most influential writers of her time. Plagued by crippling illness and torrid marriages, her imagination provided a sanctuary that she shared with us all. ‘Lonely Hunter’ will span 35 years in McCullers’ life and feature notable figures including her best friend Tennessee Williams, her protégé Truman Capote, her roommate Gypsy Rose Lee and collaborator Ethel Waters
Deborah Kampmeier stated, “Jena’s vulnerability, curiosity, and passion are perfect for Carson. She is extremely gifted and I’m thrilled to be working with Jena in what I’m sure will be a very creative and exciting process.”
Jena Malone is represented by The Gersh Agency and Robert Wallerstein at Hirsch Wallerstein Matlof & Fishman.
One of Malone’s earliest performances, that of the confused, hurting young child at the center of a extended family in “Stepmom” (1998), is still one of my favourites. Check out one of her tear-evoking moments in that movie :