We love a good comeback, and few recent comebacks were more deserved than Paul Verhoeven’s last year. The Dutch helmer was once one of the most in-demand directors around thanks to movies including “Robocop,” “Total Recall,” “Basic Instinct” and “Starship Troopers,” but Verhoeven had fallen out of favor in the 20th century, and made only two movies after his last studio picture, “Hollow Man” — excellent World War 2 drama “Black Book” and the virtually unseen “Tricked.”
But last year, he returned with the provocative thriller “Elle,” which won rave reviews at Cannes, and went on to be one of the most successful foreign films of 2016, and even picked up an Oscar nomination for star Isabelle Huppert. It’s put the 79-year-old Verhoeven firmly back on the map, and the great news is that the director has found a new project, reteaming, per Screen Daily, with some of his “Elle” team for “Blessed Virgin.”
As usual, it’s likely to raise eyebrows in certain circles: the film’s an adaptation of Judith C. Brown’s academic book “Immodest Acts: The Life Of A Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy,” about 17th-century abbess Benedetta Carlini, who became a notable figure in the Church after having religious visions and even stigmata, only to suffer a downfall after her claims of miracles were revealed to be fakes, and her affairs with other nuns came to light.
“Elle” producer Saïd Ben Saïd is producing again, revealing the project on Twitter this morning, and from the teaser poster (NSFW, so don’t scroll down too far if you’re worried), we learn that Belgian actress Virginie Efira, who played the wife of Huppert’s neighbor in “Elle,” will take on the lead role. It’s exciting that Verhoeven’s getting a new project going so soon after the long gaps between his other recent work: it’ll be hoping for deals at the Cannes marketplace, so hopefully it’ll get before cameras sooner rather than later.