Amazon Studios is reportedly in talks with Oscar-winning director Alexander Payne to helm the legal drama The Burial. Written by Doug Wright, the film is based on the true story of Willie Gary, a successful personal-injury lawyer from Mississippi. According to Deadline:
“He takes on the case of Jeremiah O’Keefe, the owner of a local chain of funeral homes who claimed he had been swindled by a major funeral parlour conglomerate. The rags-to-riches lawyer turns it into a David vs. Goliath morality play”. Gary, who was a flamboyant, colourful guy, was the son of poor black migrant workers who became known as ‘The Giant Killer’ for his exploits in this case.
Payne is coming off a disappointment with Downsizing, so it would be interesting to see how he can bounce back with this project. The Burial sounds like it has everything in place to be a riveting legal drama, which is not something Payne has really tackled before, as his films are usually imbued with a slice of (dark) comedy.
Legal dramas aren’t typically the kind of film getting greenlit nowadays with big-budget movies based off existing properties all the rage, so it’s good to see that Amazon is continuing its commitment to strong dramas for now.
There were rumours they were looking to move into the world of blockbusters, and those rumours still hold weight considering they didn’t purchase a single title at Sundance this year and that their TV wing is going all out with a massive Lord Of The Rings series.
Hopefully if that is indeed the case, they won’t shy totally away from solid, serious dramas like The Burial and others in the future. They found Oscar-winning success with Manchester By The Sea, after all.