Gary Ross is in the middle of shooting The Hunger Games, so I have no idea how he has the time to start planning his next project, much less another one involving action out in the wilderness. But apparently the guy has no use for downtime, and according to Variety, he’s planning a sci-fi action film with Carey Mulligan called Outback. You can guess from the title that it’s set in Australia, but beyond that we don’t know anything, beside the fact that Graham King’s GK Films is producing.
Mulligan was one of the few high-profile young actresses who didn’t seem to be in the hunt to star as Katniss in The Hunger Games, a role that eventually went to a fellow up-and-comer and Best Actress nominee, Jennifer Lawrence. Ross clearly knows how to pick his actresses, though given that his previous two films are the historically tinged, not particularly action-heavy Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, he seems to be transitioning his career in a totally new direction. It’s unclear when he’d be able to start production on Outback, or how it might fit into what Lionsgate hopes will be four– yes, four– films in a series. Maybe this is our first sign that, like Summit did with the Twilight films, they plan to farm each installment in the series out to different writers.
As for Mulligan, if Outback is as much an action film as it seems, it will be a big transition for her as well. Sure, she’s the main female character in Nicolas Winding Refn’s new, apparently badass new film Drive, and played a tiny role in Public Enemies, but for the most part her breakthrough role in An Education set the standard for her career– quiet, character-driven films featuring people making tough decisions. I have no idea if Outback will actually turn out this way, but for now I’ll enjoy envisioning Mulligan as a female equivalent of Mad Max, stalking through the wilderness and taking no prisoners.