Paul Schrader's New Script He's Writing Is About A "Sexual Obsessor"

Paul Schrader‘s follow-up to “Master Gardener,” “Oh, Canada,” will be at the EFM at the Berlinale, but the auteur already has his eyes set on another picture. IndieWire reports that Schrader teased his next project at the Q&A at Roxy Cinema in NYC. And no, it’s not the script about a trauma nurse he optioned off to Elisabeth Moss for her to direct and star in.

Schrader fans know that script (now titled “R.N.“) has its fair share of sexual subject matter, but so does his in-progress one. “I’m writing something right now. I’m going over it today,” Schrader told the Roxy crowd. “I’ve written a script about a sexual obsessor. So that’s what I’m doing now.” The director didn’t provide any more details, but his progress shows he has no plans to slow down in his late 70s.

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“Oh, Canada” was the main topic of discussion at the Roxy Q&A, however. Schrader told the crowd that the death-filled atmosphere of the COVID-19 era made him want to make the film, an adaptation of Russell Banks‘ 2021 novel “Foregone.” “I was sort of saturated with dying at the same,” Schrader explained. “I had been to the hospital multiple times during COVID. Friends had been dying; they still are dying. And I thought, well, geez, if you’re going to make a film about dying, you better hurry up. And so I did it.” Schrader sounded happy with how “Oh, Canada” came out, too. “I feel like it went quite well, so now I’ll make a post-dying film,” he joked.

Schrader’s next film has plenty of buzz ahead of its release, mainly because it reunites the director with his “American Gigolo” lead Richard Gere for the first time in decades. In “Oh, Canada,” Gere stars as Leonard Fife, a documentary filmmaker who reflects on his life and legacy on his hospital deathbed.   Jacob Elordi also stars as a younger version of Fife, with Uma ThurmanMichael Imperioli, and Zach Schaffer rounding out the main cast. Read on for an official synopsis of “Oh, Canada” courtesy of Arclight Films:

“Oh, Canada depicts the story of famed documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, an American leftist who fled to Canada as a young man to avoid the Vietnam War draft. As Fife battles cancer in Montreal during his twilight years, he agrees to a final interview. Intent on revealing his long-guarded secrets and demystifying his mythologized life, Fife’s shocking confession unfolds amidst the presence of his wife, Emma (Uma Thurman), his devoted former student Malcolm MacLeod (Michael Imperioli), and a team of filmmakers capturing this profound moment.”

Expect “Oh, Canada” to get a major festival world premiere later this year.

As for “R.N.,” Schrader confirmed earlier this year that Moss will direct the feature, about a trauma nurse and her problematic behavior. “I wanted to do a film about female sexual irresponsibility, mainly behavior that just causes trouble,” Schrader said about the script. “I thought, ‘This is really good.’ But there was a lot of explicit sex in it, masturbation. I’m an old male. ‘How am I going to direct this?’ This is not my part of town. There are a lot of female directors out there now, not like decades ago, when there were only two or three. I feel out of place here, I feel like I’m in Spike Lee’s house telling him how to redecorate. And so I decided not to do it. And then I subsequently have now offered it to Elisabeth Moss for her to star and direct.”

But “R.N.” is a Moss project now, not a Paul Schrader project. So how quickly will Schrader start work on his new script? Probably after “Oh, Canada” makes its festival rounds. If the film sells at EFM, expect it also to hit theaters later in 2024.