Directing Rihanna‘s sexy “Needed Me” video and an ad for Supreme featuring his rapper pal Gucci Mane, the one thing Harmony Korine hasn’t done this year is gear up production on a new feature film. Initially, his super-promising-sounding project “The Trap,” that had Idris Elba, Benicio Del Toro, Robert Pattinson, Al Pacino, and James Franco set to star, was slated to lens earlier this year, but there were delays, and the director started losing interest in the movie, thus pivoting toward writing something new, something he described as “a cross between a Cheech and Chong movie and…‘Scarecrow.’ ” Now, not only does it look like that latter picture is next, but Korine has also lined up another very provocative project.
During a Q&A last night at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, Korine revealed he’s working on an adaptation of Alissa Nutting‘s controversial and acclaimed novel, “Tampa.” The 2013 book caused no shortage of scandal, with the story explicitly detailing a teacher’s journey in seducing her 14-year-old student. It’s pretty charged material, so much so that Slate editor Dan Kois wrote, quite prophetically it would seem, “someone hire Harmony Korine to make the movie, ASAP.” Here’s the book synopsis:
In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.
Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.
Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.
That’s right up Korine’s alley of provocation, and he suggested that “Tampa” might be headed to HBO, which would mark a new turn for the arthouse filmmaker. But we’ll have to see how that shakes out.
Next for the director will be the aforementioned Cheech-and-Chong-meets-“Scarecrow” script, which he’s aiming to shoot in south Florida, though there’s no word just when cameras will roll. After that will be either “The Trap” (which hopefully he hasn’t grown tired of) or “Tampa,” and we’ll follow whatever Korine decides to go with. And in case you’re counting, including “Spring Breakers,” this will mark four movies that Korine will have set in Florida.