Sam Rockwell in Talks to Star in Gore Verbinski’s Next Film


Director Gore Verbinski is working on his return to the big screen, and it appears he may have found a leading man for the project. According to DiscussingFilm, Sam Rockwell is in talks to star in Verbinski’s next film, which would mark the director’s first turn behind the camera since 2016.

Details on the film remain closely guarded, and it is unclear who Rockwell would be playing, or even what type of project the film would be. However, Verbinski told Collider in 2021 that he was working on a pair of animated films, saying, “I’m working on two animated movies that I can’t really talk about. I’m working on two screenplays…they’re both animated movies. They’re not Westerns. One is a musical.” The stages of development for both of these projects are unclear, and it remains to be seen if Rockwell’s starring bid would be attached to either of them or if he would be working on something in live-action. Verbinski had reportedly planned to make his next animated feature Cattywumpus, a film about cats in outer space. The project was previously set up at Netflix but was eventually dropped by the studio, and was reportedly being shopped around in 2022.


If the feature with Rockwell eventually gets the green light, it would be Verbinski’s first film since 2016’s horror-thriller A Cure for Wellness. Following the film’s release, Verbinski, who is known for his work on The Pirates of the Caribbean series, Rango, and The Ring, had a number of high-profile projects lined up that eventually tapered off. This included directing Gambit, a film for 20th Century Fox based on the X-Men character of the same name. However, Verbinski told Collider he parted ways with the film because “the script never got to a place where everybody was in agreement.” In addition, Verbinski was also working on a long-gestating film adaptation of Bioshock for Universal, before the studio eventually bowed out. Verbinski is also slated to direct an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s short story Sandkings, but there doesn’t appear to have been much movement on this front.

Image via Searchlight Pictures

RELATED: Gore Verbinski’s ‘Cattywumpus’ to be Shopped Around After Leaving Netflix

Rockwell Would Bring Star Power to the Film

Whatever film Verbinski ends up making, it would likely be in good hands with Rockwell. Known for his Oscar-nominated performance as George W. Bush in Vice and his Oscar-winning turn in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Rockwell has become one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actors in recent years. He is also known for his work in films such as Jojo Rabbit, Richard Jewell, and Iron Man 2. He has done animation as well, having lended his voice to the 2022 Dreamworks film The Bad Guys alongside Marc Maron and Awkwafina.

Rockwell will next be seen on screen in Argylle, a Matthew Vaughn-directed spy thriller in which he will appear alongside a star-studded cast of Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, Dua Lipa, John Cena, Catherine O’Hara, and Ariana DeBose. The film is reportedly in post-production but does not yet have a release date.

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